Strike at GM'S CAMI Plant in Ontario Looks Imminent

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The workforce at General Motors’ Canadian sport-utility plant are threatening to strike unless a new labor deal is reached by Sunday night. Traditionally union deals close at the last minute but GM is cutting it exceptionally close this weekend.

Between now and 10:59 p.m. ET, the automaker needs to pen an agreement with Unifor Local 88, which represents about 2,450 employees at GM’s CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. The union has already conducted a final meeting for Sunday on how to direct union members on picketing strategies or how to apply for strike pay and benefits. Unifor also updated its website on Saturday to indicate a “fair and responsible agreement” did “not appear reachable” by Sunday’s deadline.

CAMI is responsible for production of the Chevrolet Equinox and used to build the GMC Terrain, both of which have seen a noticeable uptick in sales this past year as consumer interests shifts away from small cars and toward sport utility vehicles. The Equinox had an exceptional summer, with August 2017 ending in 28,245 U.S. deliveries against 2016’s 15,273. Strong SUV demand has helped automakers weather the storm of lagging auto sales as the market slows down and losing production capabilities would be detrimental to GM’s final quarter.

General Motors has invested over $500 million in the Ingersoll plant in order to prepare for the new 2018 model year. High demand of Equinox has left CAMI struggling to meet demand. Earlier this year, General Motors shifted some of the SUV production to Mexico, laying some of its Canadian workforce off in the process while giving itself a potential plan B were Unifor to strike in the North.

Rumors have been stirring that GM is seeking to scale back Canadian production to focus more on the U.S. and Mexico. However, Sunday morning, the manufacturer released a statement saying that it would “work with our Union partners toward another innovative and mutually beneficial competitive agreement.”

[Image: General Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Xtoyota Xtoyota on Sep 18, 2017

    Why is it that workers at GM,Ford, and FCA all look like bums and workers at U.S. foreign factory's have uniforms and look more professional ???

  • Whatnext Whatnext on Sep 22, 2017

    Meh, the number of GM vehicles on the road in this part of Canada (Vancouver) is miniscule. It's hard to believe they were once such a corporate giant.

  • William I feel very sorry for those who attempt to use an attack on a product as a way to deprecate an individual whose politics they disagree with. They delude themselves and mislead others.
  • Arthur Dailey Have to admit that I love that interior colour. And also like the upholstery on the seats and the inside of the door panels. And when was the last time you saw a door hanging coffee cup holder? Some here probably didn't know that such a device existed.
  • Buickman this is about cars. I miss Robert.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we end debt slavery next? Its getting to the point where its no longer voluntary.
  • Carson D Honda and Toyota still make the best American cars.