What's next now that Canadian GM strike is averted

American General Motors’ workers can breathe a sigh of relief now that a strike at GM in Canada was narrowly averted. The head of the Canadian auto workers union, Unifor, announced a tentative agreement had been reached late Monday. The agreement guarantees that the plant in Oshawa, Ontario, will stay open which was one of the union’s major concerns.
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American workers were concerned because any work stoppage in the Canadian plants would have caused problems, like parts shortages, immediately.

According to a statement from Unifor President Jerry Dias, "This framework puts into motion what will be a historic agreement to secure a future for our members, for our communities and for the auto industry in Canada, at this late hour we have language in place to address our bargaining priorities and there will be no strike."

General Motors of Canada released its own comment.“General Motors of Canada and Unifor have reached a tentative new collective agreement, covering approximately 3,860 represented employees at just after midnight on September 20, 2016. The agreement will enable significant new product, technology and process investments at GM’s Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock facilities, placing those operations at the forefront of advanced manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability. This agreement is subject to member ratification. We will be working with government on potential support, and will provide further details on the investment at the appropriate time, while respecting Unifor’s ratification process.

The union will hold ratification votes on Sunday. Insiders say that the contract includes a slight wage increase, as well as giving temporary workers a path to becoming full-time employees. The two sides did not say what products will be built in Canada, just assured that there will be future production and investments.

Unifor chose GM as the strike target because that is where they had the most concerns about plant closings. Products built at the Oshawa, Ontario plant have been shifted to other facilities. After the ratification votes, the union will turn its attention to Ford and Fiat-Chrysler. No word on which automaker will be selected next, but the GM agreement will be used as a pattern for future negotiations.

Unifor says it represents 23,050 workers for the Detroit Three in Canada. Unifor used to be known as the CAW.


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