Auto workers at three General Motors (GM) facilities in Canada went on strike early Tuesday after failing to reach an agreement with the automaker. The workers, represented by their union Unifor, which represents over 4,200 employees at the plants, had previously warned of a strike if no agreement was reached with GM by midnight local time.
Unifor had recently ratified a new three-year labor contract with Ford and is seeking a similar agreement with GM. According to Unifor President Lana Payne, the strike is a result of GM's refusal to meet the pattern agreement set by the union. She stated that the company was not meeting their demands for pensions, support for retired workers, and the transition of temporary workers into permanent full-time positions.
While GM acknowledged making "very positive progress" during negotiations, the company expressed disappointment in not being able to reach an agreement. Jennifer Wright, GM Canada's executive director for communications, emphasized the company's commitment to continuing discussions with Unifor to achieve a fair and flexible agreement for their 4,200 represented employees at the Oshawa Assembly & Operations, St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre.
Unifor holds considerable bargaining power with GM due to the active production of profitable Chevrolet pickups at the factory in Oshawa, Ontario. The union has not yet gone on strike against the Detroit automakers, unlike its U.S. counterpart, the United Auto Workers. It is important to note that workers at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, which is also a GM facility, are covered by a separate bargaining agreement and are unaffected by the strike at this time.
Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union with 315,000 members across various industries, remains committed to achieving a fair agreement that meets the needs of its members.
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