Unifor Approves Contract at GM's Canadian Equinox Factory, Strike Ends Tonight

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

General Motors and Unifor representation at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, announced a tentative agreement on Friday. Today, that deal proved amicable to both parties, as union employees voted to approve a new four-year contract with the automaker — ending a month-long strike at a factory producing the incredibly popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

While the deal includes a salary increase of four percent over four years and $8,000 in lump sum payments over the lifespan of the proposal, it lacks Unifor’s primary demand of a written assurance that CAMI will remain the lead producer of the Equinox. GM proved unwilling to give way on that issue, which is likely due to the ongoing and uncertain nature of NAFTA renegotiations.

“Despite our every effort, General Motors steadfastly refused to accept our members’ reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox,” Unifor president Jerry Dias wrote to local union members prior to the factory vote.

Leading up to the weekend, Dias also addressed the potential problems autoworkers could face without a carefully crafted trade agreement. “This strike has shown all of Canada why a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement must address the needs of working people first,” he said in a statement.

Unifor said it expects CAMI employees to return to their respective stations Monday evening. All current employees will receive a $6,000 bonus once the deal is ratified and new hires will be fast-tracked to the full wage of $34.15 per hour, according to the union.

The deal wasn’t a moment too soon, either. Despite GM’s best efforts to bolster SUV production in Mexico, Equinox inventory dwindled to a 41-day supply by the beginning of October. Meanwhile U.S. sales rose to 27,512 units in September, pushing year-to-date sales up 22 percent over last year.

“The ratification of a new 4-year agreement between GM Canada and Unifor Local 88 at CAMI Assembly is welcome news for our company, employees and the community,” said Steve Carlisle, president and managing director of General Motors Canada.

“We have an outstanding new product at CAMI with the Chevrolet Equinox and I am confident that we will quickly pull together to continue to demonstrate to the world the outstanding productivity, innovation and quality that is synonymous with the CAMI workforce.”

[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.

More by Matt Posky

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 16, 2017

    The uncertainty of NAFTA, certainly had an impact on both sides of the table...The union was aware that GM could play the Mexico card..GM was aware that playing that card could be a little risky. I'm glad its all put to bed, for now anyway..I'm at the point where nothing would surprise me anymore.

  • Anomaly149 Anomaly149 on Oct 16, 2017

    UNIFOR didn't win new product for CAMI and didn't win designation as the primary Equinox plant. And only won a 1% cost of living increase per year. Yeah, this is a black eye. If NAFTA remains largely as it is in 4 years, CAMI might not be around much longer.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
Next