General Motors Employees Authorize Strike in Ontario, Start Countdown

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
general motors employees authorize strike in ontario start countdown

Unifor Local 88 just loaded its strike gun. Workers at General Motors’ Ingersoll, Ontario, assembly plant voted on Sunday to enact a strike if no labor agreement can be reached by next month. The union, which represents the CAMI factory employees, said 99.8 percent of workers at the plant voted for the strike authorization.

Negotiations started in July as GM announced it would lay off about 400 Ingersoll-based workers — resulting from the automaker’s previous decision to shift production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Unifor estimates roughly 200 workers took early retirement packages earlier this year.

About 2,450 hourly workers will be employed at the plant following the layoffs, as well as about 300 salaried workers. Now, the strike vote threatens the sole remaining model produced in Ingersoll — a strategically important one for GM.

Workers at the CAMI facility began producing the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in January. The newly downsized crossover competes in what is perhaps the hottest automotive segment, facing massive competition from every other automaker.

“The membership took an important step today to support the Bargaining Committee,” Unifor Local 88 President Dan Borthwick said in an official statement. “The vote today sends a clear message to GM that the members stand behind the bargaining committee and the proposals that Unifor Local 88 put forward on behalf of the membership.”

In an earlier interview with CTV News, Borthwick also expressed his concerns for the well-being of the small town. “We’re going through a tough time,” he said. “ are a blow to our plant and the community of Ingersoll.”

Speaking with Automotive News earlier this month, Unifor President Jerry Dias said the union’s top priority in its negotiations with GM was to secure jobs for the laid off workers. However, Union leaders have also said the bargaining committee will not accept any deals without the company addressing shop floor issues, improved wages with benefits, and new investment at the plant to replace the Terrain.

“GM has done very well in the four years since the last round of negotiations, with both shareholders and executives profiting,” Mike Van Boekel, chair for Local 88, said in an earlier statement. “At the GM Cami facility they have made more than $2 billion per year. It’s time for the workers to be rewarded.”

Boekel added that workers have been on mandatory overtime, working six days a week, since 2009, meeting all production and quality targets of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover. “The current corporate practice of whipsawing one plant against another, one country against another, must stop,” he said.

GM Canada concluded talks with its other Unifor plants in September of 2016. Those workers received pay increases, a higher starting wage for new hires, and a signing bonus. It also pledged a new vehicle for its Oshawa assembly plant, and made 700 temporary jobs permanent.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Aug 28, 2017

    Reading the comments on this thread and the Texas Flood thread makes my avatar look like the correct choice once again.

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Aug 29, 2017

    And yet Unifor and UAW wonder why millions of us shop non-union exclusively. There's too many high-quality products available to support their bullshit.

  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged