GM Autoworkers Ratify $421 Million Contract; Fiat Chrysler Negotiations Come Next

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm autoworkers ratify 421 million contract fiat chrysler negotiations come next

Unionized General Motors workers in Canada ratified a new collective agreement yesterday, with the automaker agreeing to invest $421 million ($554 million CAD) into its northern operations.

The deal, which sees full-size pickup final assembly come to Oshawa, was sealed after 64.7 percent of the Unifor members voted to approve it. With this nail-biter of a negotiation done (the last-minute deal averted a looming strike), contract negotiations begin with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

According to Unifor, the vote breakdown was 66.5 percent from production workers and 56.5 percent from skilled trades members. Besides the new product bound for Oshawa, the four-year agreement sees some product re-routed from Mexico to GM’s engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario. A Woodstock parts facility will also see upgrades.

“The gains made in this agreement are historic and more than what has been achieved in the past ten years,” said Unifor president Jerry Dias in a statement.

Workers will see a 4-percent wage hike over the life of the contract, a $6,000 signing bonus, and lump sum payments totaling $12,000. Some 700 temporary workers see their positions converted to full-time, with a pension, signing bonus and wage progression.

According to Reuters, Unifor gave up defined-benefit pensions for new hires, while GM pledged to eliminate a $2.3 billion (CDN) pension deficit. GM Canada hailed the new deal, but suggested that future product bound for Canada could depend on government intervention.

“GM Canada is also in discussions with the federal and Ontario governments toward potential support agreements to help optimize the competitiveness of our Canadian operations for the future,” the automaker said in a statement. “Further details on our plans will be shared after completion of our discussions with governments.”

The GM deal places pressure on FCA to invest in its operations, especially the Brampton, Ontario assembly plant. That facility, which builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger, has one of the oldest paint shops in the industry.

“In the negotiations with GM, the union set clear objectives which we reached, including our top priority to secure investment and product for our members and the future of the auto industry,” Dias said in a statement. “With Fiat Chrysler and Ford we will accept nothing less.”

Unifor and FCA representatives meet today.

Join the conversation
5 of 6 comments
  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 26, 2016

    "EV Company Receives Government Subsidy" = GM At first glance, this is the last gasp for Oshawa. This contract, plus future contracts, all depend upon the government to underwrite the high cost of doing business there. But, upon reflection, it appears the government will do *anything* to keep those jobs local - and Unifor knows it. You don't need a union for the government to cave like this, although the market-distorting signing bonuses are a direct outcome of the union's intervention. Good for them, I suppose; no other industry would do that for them with their skill sets (unless they were school teachers).

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 26, 2016

      Just how high IS the cost of doing business in Canada? The Canadian Dollar is worth 76 cents American, so costs in American dollars are discounted 24%. If American workers are getting $22/hour and Canadian workers are getting C$32, the labor costs are comparable. Other expenses might be comparable as well. If you look at the bigger picture, the European Union trade agreement with the US was a bust, and the Euros are trying especially hard to save a trade agreement with Canada. There's a chance GM exports to Europe through Canada could be advantageous.

  • RRocket RRocket on Sep 26, 2016

    Only 65% voted for the deal? What were the other 35% hoping for? Geez...

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 27, 2016

      @Lorenzo I find the split between skilled and unskilled workers interesting. 66.5 % versus 56.5%.

  • Pig_Iron ASTC 3.0 AM radio was successfully demonstrated at CES. It is a common standard shared with terrestrial television, so the audio equipment is commonized for broadcasters. And no royalty fees to pay, unlike HDRadio which has been a less than stellar success. 📻
  • Art Vandelay Crimes that are punished with fines encourage abuse by those enforcing them. If it is truly dangerous to the public, maybe jail or give the offenders community service. People’s time tends to be very valuable to them and a weeks lost work would certainly make a high earner think twice. If it isn’t a big danger why are police enforcing it (outside of raising money of course). Combine it with a points system. When your points are gone you do a week imitating Cool Hand Luke.
  • Cha65697928 High earners should pay less for tickets because they provide the tax revenue that funds the police. 2-3 free speeding tix per year should be fair.
  • Art Vandelay So the likely way to determine one’s income would be via the tax return. You guys are going to be real disappointed when some of the richest folks pay no speeding fine the same way they minimize their taxes
  • Teddyc73 A resounding NO. This has "Democrat" "Socialism" "liberalism" "Progressivism" and "Communism" written all over it.