GM Strike: Why Are Workers Striking in Ontario?

GM Strike: Why Are Workers Striking in Ontario?

Dias, in an interview with Automotive News Canada, said "major philosophical differences" over the long-term future of CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ontario, are driving a wedge between GM and Unifor.

Securing jobs was the key to a collective agreement to replace one expiring in September between GM and its 2,800 CAMI workers, said Unifor president Jerry Dias in February.

Earlier this year the production of the GMC Terrain was shifted from the CAMI Assembly plant to Mexico, as the production of the Chevrolet Equinox was expanded at the same plant. The decision led to 600 layoffs.

Workers began picketing outside of the auto plant at 11 p.m. Sunday.

General Motors will lose an estimated 850 units of production daily due to a strike at the automaker's Ingersoll, ON, Canada, assembly plant, which builds the popular Chevrolet Equinox crossover. The Equinox also is made in Mexico and workers fear more jobs could go south.

New Hurricane Maria aims at Irma-damaged area
But Hurricane Maria has got a more northwesterly track than Hurricane Irma had, suggesting Florida could fall outside its path. Its tropical storm force winds extended out up to 70 miles wide from 60 miles wide reported for the 8 a.m. forecast.

In a statement, GM Canada urged Unifor to "resume negotiations" to secure a "competitive agreement" at the plant. GM shifted production of its Terrain compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) from the Ingersoll plant to the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico.

Dias has pushed for higher working standards in the US and Mexico during current negotiations over changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Bloomberg said. The company said that in 2015 it invested 800 million Canadian dollars ($656 million U.S.) in the plant to build the new Equinox.

Workers at the GM CAMI plant, a joint venture between the automaker and Suzuki until 2009, are on a separate contract from other GM plants in Canada, which received four-year labor contracts last year. Canada, meanwhile, lost more than 53,000 automotive jobs from 2001 to 2014, according to a study by the Automotive Policy Research Centre. But with production of the model in Mexico, GM is better placed to withstand the impact of a strike. US sales have gained 17 percent to 185,223 units this year through August, while Canadian sales have jumped 40 percent to 16,956 units at the same time.

But Krebs noted that while concerns about moving production to Mexico have been an issue, Cami is likely to face competition for new products from plants in MI and OH that make passenger cars but could be retooled to make SUVs, such as the Equinox.

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