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General Motors workers on strike at Ontario plant

 General Motors
Posted at 2:36 AM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 06:48:03-04

A breakdown in negotiations has led to a strike in Canada.

Roughly a third of General Motors of Canada workers are on strike after a deal couldn’t be reached by 11 p.m. between Unifor and G.M.

Unifor, the largest union in Canada for the private sector, represents the nearly 3,000 employees that are currently on strike at the CAMI Assembly plant. 

Earlier this year the production of the GMC Terrain was shifted from the CAMI Assembly plant to Mexico, as the production of the Chevrolet Equinox was expanded at the same plant. Unifor has argued that the move led to 600 layoffs, and is now seeking new investments in the plant and better wages.

“Every member understands the importance of reaching a deal that secures production,” said Mike Van Boekel, Local 88 Chair at the CAMI Assembly plant.

General Motors has urged Unifor to resume negotiations, releasing a statement overnight stating: “While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement.”

It is not clear if the two sides are still working at the negotiation table, Unifor previously said it would work with General Motors right up until the deadline.

Pictures have surfaced on Twitter showing workers picketing at the plant in Ingersoll.

A Regional Vice-President of OPSEU noted that picketers are in Ingersoll and not allowing people to enter the plant. He wrote on Twitter that a security guard showed up late for work, and said that picketers were not allowing them in.

“Security who showed late and they are NOT getting in!!” wrote Len Elliot. “No on is gettin(g) in and no one is crossing!!”

GM of Canada directly employs 8,072 employees, which means roughly one-third of their employees in Canada are now on strike.

Currently the CAMI Assembly plant is operating at maximum capacity on three shifts, according to GM of Canada. In 2015, CAMI was awarded an $800 million investment to produce the newer Chevrolet Equinox. Production began earlier this year.

GM released this statement;

“While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement.  We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement.”