CAMI strike ends but struggle continues
At a meeting of the membership on October 16, 2017, Unifor Local 88 members voted to ratify new four-year collective agreement, ending a nearly month-long strike.
While this strike may have ended and production resumes on October 17, the fight for fairness and job security continues.
The heartless approach by General Motors in this round of negotiations has caused a great deal of hurt and anxiety, not to mention financial cost, for our dedicated Local 88 members at CAMI in Ingersoll and for the entire community.
For eight consecutive years, the members of Local 88 worked six days a week, producing very profitable, quality award winning vehicles. This dedication deserved to be recognized by General Motors through enhanced job security. Our members had every reason to make this demand, and did everything to demonstrate it was a demand that deserved to be met. Despite every effort, General Motors steadfastly has continued to refuse to accept Unifor’s reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox.
What cannot and will not be forgotten in this strike is the stand taken by Local 88 members to fight for good jobs and a stable future for families and the surrounding Ingersoll community.
Among other gains, the new Agreement provides for improvements to the new hire program, wage increase, improvement to benefits, and 10 days paid leave for those dealing with domestic violence. All members of Local 88 can be rightfully proud of their actions and the solidarity shown on the line. It is this strike that will strengthen the resolve of members and our union for years to come.
The national union would also like to acknowledge the incredible dedication shown throughout these negotiations by Local 88 President Dan Borthwick, CAMI Unit Chair Mike Van Boekel and the entire bargaining committee. Their commitment to the best interests of the membership and the community was evident throughout this process.
The past four weeks of this strike have brought in to focus the issues of free trade and just how unfair it is to workers. Canada continues to bleed good paying, unionized manufacturing jobs as a result of trade deals like NAFTA. The ongoing renegotiation of NAFTA must lead to a new kind of trade, one that puts the needs of working people first.
GM heartless in response to CAMI workers
Unifor stands behind the members of Local 88 in Ingersoll in the face of coldhearted indifference shown by General Motors as it threatens to ramp up production of the Equinox in Mexico, Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
“This is a callous and heartless attitude for General Motors to take toward a community that has worked so hard to build its top-selling vehicles,” Dias said.
“GM is turning its back on the entire community.”
GM has rejected a Unifor proposal to name CAMI as the lead producer of the Equinox, saying it can meet production needs for the vehicle at its Mexican facilities.
The Equinox is now the only vehicle now made at CAMI. In July, production of the Terrain was moved from Ingersoll to Mexico.
“CAMI is the poster child for what is wrong with North American Free Trade Agreement,” Dias said.
“You can make a best-selling vehicle, win shelves full of awards along the way, work three shifts a day, and still the company sends work to Mexico and refuses to discuss showing some loyalty to workers or the community that supported it.”
Local 88 members to join solidarity rally for stronger labour standards in NAFTA
What: Unifor Solidarity Rally
When: Friday, September 22nd at 4:30pm (Sheraton Hotel)
Where: Congregate at Sheraton Ottawa Hotel (150 Albert Street) and head over to Mexican Embassy at 45 O’Connor Street
Who: Speakers at the Ottawa event will include (not necessarily in this order):
• Labour Leaders from the U.S.
• Labour Leaders from Mexico
• Jerry Dias, Unifor
• Union members from General Motors Ingersoll, ON
Why: To urge all governments to negotiating stronger labour standards in NAFTA 2.0.
Unifor members at General Motors in Ingersoll, Ontario are currently on strike and are looking for written commitments from the company that ensures Chevy Equinox production stays at the Ingersoll facility (earlier this year GM relocated Terrain CUV production from Ingersoll to one of its Mexican facilities, cutting 600 jobs)
Bargaining Update, September 20, 2017
No formal contract negotiations have taken place, though each day there has been communication (text and telephone) between the parties. We have found no common ground on the major issues at this time. Mike Van Boekel and Dan Borthwick met with our Unifor National representatives to review the outstanding bargaining items. At this meeting we did some brainstorming and discussed strategies. Unifor National has committed their support with any resources required during our strike.
The Master Bargaining Committee convened on Wednesday. We have decided to formally reach out to the company with the intention of continuing to negotiate toward a new Collective Agreement.
We will remain strong on the membership’s three major issues; job security, economics, and contract language.
We would like to thank the community, labour groups, other Unifor Locals, affiliate Union’s and most importantly our Local 88 Membership for their unwavering support through this process.