Beyond the picket line: Ingersoll faces economic blow from CAMI strike
Several restaurants struggle for survival with some reporting losing up to $1000 daily
Ingersoll's wider community is feeling the wrath of thousands of striking CAMI Automotive workers, with one restaurant possibly facing a closure.
Nearly 3,000 workers took to the picket line more than a week ago, striking over job security and investment in the plant along the 401.
- Union tables offer to GM in a big to end CAMI strike
- Magna International suspends supply of parts to CAMI
In the town, a plaza formerly populated by CAMI workers on their shift break is already seeing economic losses.
Aman Kumar moved to Ingersoll three years ago to work as a front line employee at Subway. The sandwich shop has lost nearly $1000 every day since the strike began.
"This plaza will stay empty if the strike continues," said Kumar. "Some stores may even close down by next year."
Kumar said CAMI Automotive, which makes up about a quarter of jobs in Ingersoll, is the town's main economic engine. Without it, he said, the city would become a "ghost town."
"I (could) lose my job. This is my only source of income. I'm really worried. I feel sad and bad."
Next door, Pita Pita has also seen hundreds of dollars of losses.
"It's so quiet. Lately we haven't been making as much as we normally do," said employee Noah Fishleigh. "We rely on CAMI for every business here."
Several suppliers have also been hit hard, including Magna International which has suspended its supply of parts to CAMI.
Ingersoll's main grocery store, Tremblett's Your Independent Grocer, has supplied free water and snacks to striking employees at the plant.
Jocie Gordon, one of store's managers, said it's important to support the workers because they have provided the town with a sense of community.
"CAMI over the years has built our community into a bigger community. We stayed very close knit," she said.
Downtown coffee shops also donated lemonade and other cold drinks to the workers, who have recently armed themselves with umbrellas and canopies to beat the record-breaking heat.
Pressures to respond
Todd Sleeper, one of the picket line captains, said the community support has boosted worker morale.
"The morale is really high. We have great support from the community," he said. "It's like a big family. This strike has one a lot for our solidarity and everyone is very united."
Up to 100 CAMI workers have also gone on several motorcycle blitzes, driving by the picket line waving Canadian and union flags to keep momentum going.
Despite the positive environment, striking workers are still waiting to hear from General Motors Canada after the union tabled an offer over the weekend.
Unifor Local 88 offered a comprehensive package that focuses on job security and investment in the plant. On the list of priorities, the union wants the Ingersoll plant to be the last affected by any cuts in production.
Sleeper is hopeful that the community impact, from suppliers to local stores, will influence the automaker giant.
"We can't afford to be out, as well. So I think it's time that GM came back to the table and starting negotiating in good faith"
Who's up for a motorcycle rally? About 80 CAMI workers are rolling into the Ingersoll plant in style tonight - showing their support. <a href="https://t.co/TLcLCHluxX">pic.twitter.com/TLcLCHluxX</a>—@Hala_Ghonaim
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