Unifor’s tentative new contract with General Motors includes investment by the company at all its facilities in Canada. This will mean new product for Oshawa, and the extension of the current commodity programs in St. Catharines.
“The commitment to Oshawa is hundreds of millions of dollars, therefore our fear of a closure in 2019 is now over,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias at a press conference held shortly after midnight Monday. “The facilities clearly have a bright future.”
The Oshawa facility will see investment and reconfiguration that will make it the first GM plant in North America to have the capacity to produce both trucks and cars. The St. Catharines engine and transmission plant will also absorb engine production that will be shifted from Mexico.
“This is the first time that I can remember where there has been a migration of product from Mexico to Canada. Heaven only knows we’ve seen enough of it go the other way around,” said Dias.
There will also be investment made in the parts distribution centre in Woodstock. The deal also includes wage increases, a signing bonus and improvements to the New Hire program. As well, 700 supplemental workforce employees (SWEs) will be converted to full time status.
Dias suggested that the master agreement for all Detroit Three sends a strong message to workers at Toyota and Honda plants that with a union they can secure new product and create good jobs for temporary workers.
“The temporary employees at Honda and Toyota now know the way to get full-time employment is through collective bargaining,” said Dias.
Dias declined to give further details, saying he will tell members at GM ratification meetings on September 25.
Unifor picked GM as its target to set the pattern for bargaining with all the Detroit Three automakers: Fiat-Chrysler, Ford and GM.