TORONTO, Aug. 10, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor opened formal contract talks with General Motors this afternoon, in what could be the most important round of auto talks in a generation.
"Our success in these negotiations will determine the livelihoods of thousands of workers and the future of our industry, and set an important precedent about the kind of economy we want," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
The formal opening of talks between General Motors and Unifor will be followed Thursday by the formal opening of talks with both Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Talks with all three companies will continue until after Labour Day, when one company is picked to set the pattern for the Detroit Three automakers.
With pattern bargaining, negotiations focus on one company, establishing a pattern that will model the contracts with the other automakers. Once a deal is ratified with the pattern target, focus shifts to the next company, and then the third.
At its June 1 meeting, Unifor's Auto Council, with elected representatives from every bargaining unit involved in this round of negotiations, voted unanimously to make new investments in Canada, including new product allocations, the top priority of the talks.
Dias said the Detroit Three companies have done well in the four years since the last round of negotiations, with both shareholders and executives profiting. It is now time for the workers to be rewarded, and that begins with new investments in Canada.
"Canada is an incredible place to build vehicles. With our highly skilled work force, plants in Canada have the highest quality record in the world."
As in past negotiations, Unifor will advance important social issues at the table in order to make gains not only for its members, but for all Canadians. In this round, Unifor will look to the auto companies to join it in advancing Pharmacare. As well, as new investments are made in Canada, there will be greater opportunities for good jobs for diverse groups of Canadians.
For more details and background information, go to unifor.og/autotalks16. The hashtag for the contract talks will be #Autotalks16.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 23,050 auto workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.