Electric Slide: Unifor ratifies $1 billion agreement with General Motors

Ingersoll, ON – In yesterday’s landslide vote, members of Unifor Local 88 have ratified a new deal with General Motors (GM) with a whopping 91 per cent in favour of the agreement. The three-year pledge brings $1 billion in investments to the CAMI Assembly Plant in preparation for the large-scale production of an all-electric van. 


Work is scheduled to begin immediately at the CAMI Assembly Plant for production of the EV600 starting in November with full-blown production commencing in February of 2022. The plant will become the first in Canada to mass-market manufacture these electric commercial vans that will support GM’s new business line BrightDrop.


“This is the result of collaboration with the Ontario and federal governments, and General Motors. I want to thank them and the Local 88 Master Bargaining Committee for working so hard to secure jobs for our members and create new ones for this community,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.


With this agreement the total investment that has been negotiated by Unifor is up to nearly $6 billion after deals were ratified with GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler in 2020. The new agreement also has support from the federal and Ontario governments, and will also continue a historic pattern that sees some of the investment put towards wage increases, improved benefits, shift premiums, and restoration of the 20 per cent wage differential for skilled trades.


Not only that but the deal also includes making improvements to the New Hire Program and will incorporate an anti-racism action plan and appoint a new Racial Justice Advocate in the workplace. 


“The stakes going into these negotiations were high with the Equinox program ending, and there wasn’t a time during these difficult negotiations that we were not thinking about our members and their families, and we are grateful to all the members for their solidarity as we worked to ensure our plant is viable,” said Mike Van Boekel, Chair of the Master Bargaining Committee.


There are 1,900 workers at the CAMI Assembly Plant that are represented by Unifor Local 88, this deal means job security for at least another three years while production for the new vans begin and the Chevy Equinox project is phased out in 2023. 


“To achieve this level of commitment for auto manufacturing shows what can happen when we have a collective vision to secure this sector and create good jobs for Canadians,” said Dias. “While the process was complicated by COVID-19, we refused to let a pandemic impede our progress to find ‘made in Canada’ solutions.”


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