Canadian autoworkers have approved a new three-year contract with General Motors that will reopen a key plant to produce light and heavy duty pickups.
Unifor, the union representing those workers, announced Monday that the contract had been passed on an 85% vote.
Jerry Dias, Unifor National president, cheered the results.
“This contract solidifies and boldly builds on GM’s Canadian footprint, with a $1.3 billion dollar investment that brings 1,700 jobs to Oshawa plus more than $109 million to in-source new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V-8 engine production in St. Catharines,” Dias said in a news release, referring to two factories in Ontario. “Jobs at all three Canadian sites are secure for the life of this agreement, including at the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre, which will also see upgrades.”
The fate of the Oshawa facility had been among the major issues for the union when it began negotiations with GM this year. GM announced in 2018 it was planning to “unallocate” Oshawa and several other facilities, sparking outraged responses in the United States and Canada. Since then, new plans have been announced for a number of those facilities, including Detroit-Hamtramck, which will produce the new electric Hummer. The union had previously scored a win by negotiating with GM to keep the Oshawa facility open to produce aftermarket parts.
GM, through a spokesperson, also released a statement about the ratification:
“We are pleased our 1,600 Unifor represented employees ratified a new collective agreement for our St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, Oshawa OEM Stamped Products and Service Operations and the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre. This agreement provides new product investment for our highest volume products which are the number one segment in Canada. This investment will create jobs and further the growth of our Canadian operations.”
The deal with GM marks the end of the final set of negotiations between Unifor and the Detroit Three. Dias lauded the deals.
“After Ford and FCA, this amounts to a hat trick worth almost $5 billion dollars. The Ford deal reached in September includes $1.95 billion in investments to bring battery electric vehicle production to Oakville and a new engine derivative to Windsor and the Fiat Chrysler agreement includes more than $1.5 billion in investment in a state-of-the-art platform to build both plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles,” Dias said in the release, which noted that “all three contracts include support from both the federal and Ontario government.”
©2020 Detroit Free Press