Contracts talks between Unifor and GM workers in Oshawa, St Catharines to begin today

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Published September 26, 2023 at 9:06 am

With a new contract with Ford now hammered out and ratified (by a surprisingly slim margin), Canada’s biggest private sector union is moving on to General Motors, with talks to begin today.

Unifor National President Lana Payne has tapped GM as the next target company in the union’s negotiations with Detroit Three automakers.

“We’ve got an incredibly strong pattern agreement at Ford that will serve us well over the coming years,” Payne said in a video message to union members. “Our job now is to negotiate that pattern in the form of a renewal collective agreement with General Motors and Stellantis.”

“General Motors will be our next target company.”

Just fifty-four per cent of 5,600 Unifor members working at Ford Unifor voted to ratify the new agreement with Ford.

Highlights include a 20-percent base hourly wage increase for production workers, a 25-percent increase for trade workers, reduced wage progression, and higher pensions, as well as new investments for existing production facilities. The new contract will expire in 2026.

The union represents 4,300 GM workers at Oshawa Assembly, the St. Catharines Powertrain Plant and the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre. Workers in Oshawa plant build light- and heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado trucks and the plant’s stamping operations supply various parts for GM North America. The St. Catharines plant builds 6.8L, 5.3L, and 3.6L engines for a variety of vehicles, powertrains for the Chevrolet Equinox and Corvette, as well as a variety of engine component parts.

“Just as we had with Ford Motor Company, we hold a lot of negotiating leverage with GM,” Payne boasted. “Their Oshawa facility is working around-the-clock producing very lucrative pick-up trucks. The St. Catharines engine and transmission facility, like Ford’s powertrain operations, is a lynchpin for GM’s North American operations. Our Woodstock distribution centre is also a key element of the company’s parts network.”

“I don’t expect this to be an easy round of talks and I want to make sure our union is best positioned to move this pattern forward for the benefit of all members, active and retired.”

St. Catharines powertrain plant

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