By on September 25, 2016

The enduring popularity of the Chevrolet Equinox has led General Motors to some creative manufacturing approaches to keep up with demand. In addition to the crossoverÕs assembly home in Ingersoll, Ontario, GM runs a shuttle system that takes Equinox bodies to Oshawa, Ont., for painting and final production, Image: General Motors Canada

General Motors of Canada workers are heading to the ballot boxes Sunday to vote on a plan that will bring final production of 70,000 trucks a year to Oshawa and new engine production to St. Catharines.

Vote tallies are expected Sunday evening.

Few details about the “framework” of the tentative agreement were announced when Unifor president Jerry Dias presented the plan after 11th hour talks early Tuesday morning.

It was later revealed by The Globe and Mail that Oshawa would perform final assembly of full-size truck bodies produced in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as part of a $400-million investment in the Canadian assembly plant.

GM Canada said in a statement it would “be working with government on potential support, and will provide further details on the investment at the appropriate time, while respecting Unifor’s ratification process.”

Upsides for workers, in addition to production beyond 2019, are wage increases and the conversion of some 700 temporary employees to full-time positions. However, new workers won’t be eligible for a defined benefit or hybrid pension plan, which will save General Motors future legacy costs.

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27 Comments on “GM Canada Workers Vote Today on New Collective Agreement...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wonder what the voter turn out will be compared to the yea’s and nay’s?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Nothing shocks me anymore. If that deal doesn’t carry by 75 plus percent ???? I will.give up making predictions.

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Well Mike, have to say it was an eye open in experience, interesting to see how differently canadian workers are treated vs US workers, all in all I would say nobody is happy, but that I don’t think that the vast majority were expecting different. Will be interesting to see the results tonight. You know better than me does it need majority support in all plants or just overall.

  • avatar
    mikey

    50 plus one , will do the trick. It’s all uncharted territory , for me. In my day , it was always 80 plus

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Well we will see, I am not sure how much of the disapproval was from retiree’s vs current workers, as I said in St catharines I don’t know that anyone was truly happy, but I don’t think the majority were going to vote no either. Should be interesting

  • avatar
    mikey

    Retires don’t have a vote. The pre 1987 guys will get $ 1500.lump sum .The rest of us are frozen at the 2009 rate.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Presume they will accept..outside of government and crown corps defined benefit pensions have gone the way of the dodo bird..

  • avatar
    mikey

    Ratified ….. 64.7 percent . Overall

  • avatar
    scwmcan

    Apparently Oshawa was much higher than St. Catharines

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      St. Catharines was kind of used as a bargaining chip to Oshawa’s benefit.

      This deal doesn’t help St.C very much; it bails Oshawa out at St.C’s expense, and I expect Oshawa’s members know it. I can see why you would do this as it spreads the economic hit out among more people and a wider range of time, but it’s unsurprising.

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    What a bizarre world we live in – where the workers are allowed to make binding (often bad) business decisions.

  • avatar
    scwmcan

    If you think GM didn’t know exactly what was happening with the Canadian plants before these negotiations started, you are mistaken, they used the threat of closing Oshawa, to get a contract passed that basically gave nothing to anyone, the new hires did not even get parity with CAMI, the long term employees did not get any incentives to retire (note not saying the deserve them,but the UAW got some last year), the pensioners did not get their PCOLA back, and 700 pensioners who retired before 1987 got a total of $1500 each to help them survive when they don’t have enough to live on. In all I don’t think anyone(except GM) was really happy with the contract,but it was ratified to save Oshawa. Don’t get me wrong I am happy to have a job to go to today, but the Union did not do anyone any favors. I don’t know that FCA, and Ford are going to be getting anything like this contract ratified by their members, will be interesting to see.

  • avatar
    mikey

    All hourly employees will receive $6000 upon ratification. Another $2000 in Dec 17, 18 and 19. Consolidated shuts down , sometime in 2017 ?, At that point, the reduction in head count “should” generate a $50,000 plus a $20,000 car voucher ?? Though i don’t see any language to that effect.

    I also don’t see any reference , to what exactly this “new” product allocation is.??

    The good news?…The plant will stay open, for the next few years. From my point of view ?? My pension, as it stands, will carry me through to 2019 when I turn 65. At that point I qualify for Old Age Security , but I lose my supplement from GM pension….I can live, AND sleep at night with that deal.

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Small correction, the hourly employees all receive the $6000 signing bonus, the traditional (top tier) employees receive the $2000 payments over the next three years, and get a 2% raise now and another in year 3. The new hires will not get the %2000 bonuses but will get $1000 in 2019, they also start at the bottom of the progression tree no matter how many years service they had as SWES before this contract ( as I understand some in Oshawa were SWES for 8 years?, I was for 3) , and they have to wait 4 months for medical be nifty to kick in again, and a year for dental and vision, as well as full waiting periods for any other benefits, as if they had never worked for the company. So not great, but I still have a job

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Oops I forgot, the Silverado production rumour (I belive the bodies being shipped from Fort wayne) is true, the XTS gets a refresh and will continue for longer than originally stated, and the new impala will stay in Oshawa longer than originally stated.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      HI Mikey,

      Out of curiosity, is the supplement to your early pension not to replace the CPP until your 65th birthday? Have never heard of the OAS(for Americans the Old Age Security payment,$636ish / month, is from government general revenues and with no contributions from the beneficiary unlike the CPP)being included in early pension schemes. The supplement is to bridge the beneficiary from the date of their retirement to when they would receive the full unreduced amount from CPP which is at 65.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Hi Dash….Right, the supplement is to carry us to 65. However we can opt for early ,reduced CPP at 60. By my calculations i would need to live till 85 before i recovered the money i didn’t receive in the 5 year stretch, from 60 -65. For people like myself, that paid full CPP premiums since i was 18, and receive a company pension, opting for early CPP , IMHO was the right call to make

    OAS in Canada is about $650 ? However if you have other sources of income, including RRSP’s {401 k}. OAS is subject to claw back. At 65i lose my supplement, and my GM pension is reduced to = 36.4 years multiplied by $68.50 = $2,493.00 a month, minus survivor benefit $ 195.00. . I will qualify for OAS and still receive my CPP.

    One of the concessions we gave up in 2009, was accumulating service past the 30 year mark. I was grand fathered, and still retain my 36.4 years. The folks coming up behind me, can work for 45 years, and still only get a 30 year pension. For that group ? Depending on their health, they would be wise to hold off CPP until they are closer to 65 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      Thank you. The OAS starts getting clawed back at $72,000(I believe). At 65, you lose the supplement as you are eligible for full CPP. You took early CPP and now benefit from that and the supplement right?

      Pensions become more interesting the closer you are to accessing them. My wife is a public servant earning a little north of $100,000. At retirement she will get(if she stays to get full benefits) 70% of her best 5 years of income. The 70% is is composed of CPP and the public pension. So, if her pension was $70,000, and CPP is $13,000, the public pension is responsible for the rest. Even when she retires at 56 with full pension, she may access early CPP as it may make sense tax wise.

      Me, surviving my retirement years on my RRSP’s and TFSA’s. Little bit more risk than my wife’s retirement income.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Mikey & scwmcan:
    What prevents GM from closing Oshawa prior to the next contract? Shipping bodies and frames to an assembly line and paint shop is hardly job security. I really need to pick the brain of my friend at Ft. Wayne…

    Thank you both for dissecting this for us. We truly don’t deserve your perspectives but I am so thankful for them.

    • 0 avatar
      scwmcan

      Hi Tresmonos,
      As I recall there are guarantees in the contract that Oshawa will stay open till the end of the contract, and I seem to recall them saying there was work past the contract, of course all I have is the pamphlet to go by and it just talk about new investment for Oshawa. I know St. Catharines got gauantees for three shifts of the V6 till the end of the contract by picking up volume from the Mexico plant (which they said is being shutdown, but I suspect is really being retooled) and Flint. We are also getting a new variant of the v6, and an update to the V8 and transmission.

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