GM CAMI workers in Ontario vote for deal that ends month-long strike

The deal unionized CAMI workers voted to ratify Monday did not include what Unifor has been pushing for since the beginning: a guarantee from General Motors that Ingersoll workers' jobs wouldn't be sent to Mexico.

Unifor wanted guarantees from GM that any cuts to Chevrolet Equinox production wouldn't happen at Ingersoll

CAMI workers meet in London, Ont., to vote on a proposed deal that would end a one-month strike. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Workers at General Motors' CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., voted Monday to accept an agreement ending a four-week-long strike.

The union released results showing 85.9 per cent of its membership accepted the four-year contract, with 78.7 per cent of skilled trade workers agreeing to the terms. 

The contract proposal was hammered out last week and Unifor, which represents the 2,800 affected workers, is recommending the deal be accepted.

CBC News has seen a copy of the proposal that workers voted on in London.

Details include:

  • Salary increase of four per cent over four years. 
  • $2,000 lump sum each year for four years.
Unifor members received a copy of the proposed deal when they met in London to vote Monday. (Colin Butler/CBC News )

What the deal does not include, however, is what Unifor said it has been pushing for since workers walked out on Sept. 17, a guarantee from GM that Ingersoll jobs wouldn't be sent to the carmaker's two plants in Mexico. Those plants also produce the company's top selling Chevrolet Equinox. 

"Despite our every effort, General Motors steadfastly refused to accept our members' reasonable demand to designate the CAMI plant as General Motors lead producer for the Chevy Equinox," Unifor president Jerry Dias wrote in a message to local union members voting on the tentative deal. 

Unifor Local 88 president Dan Borthwick told CBC News on Monday that the union didn't get the guarantees it wanted from the automaker because of GM executives' "greed and power."

'It's about greed and power'

4 years ago
Unifor local 88 president Dan Borthwick on why GM wouldn't give Ingersoll's CAMI plant a guarantee Canadian jobs wouldn't go to Mexico 0:18

Borthwick also said renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement also played a role in bargaining between the union and GM, as Americans demand tough concessions on car manufacturing from Canadian and Mexican negotiators at the talks. 

"We still need job security in this country," Borthwick said. "Thousands and thousands of jobs have been lost in this country since the free trade agreements came into effect 25 years ago. We as a collective nation need to do something better to keep manufacturing jobs in this country." 

"The fight is not over," he said. 

The automaker threatened last week to shift more production to Mexico if a settlement wasn't reached swiftly and the two sides agreed to a deal on Friday.

Deal is 'welcome news'

GM Canada issued a statement after the vote results were released, calling the ratification "welcome news for our company, employees and the community.'

"I am confident that we will quickly pull together to continue to demonstrate to the world the outstanding productivity, innovation and quality that is synonymous with the CAMI workforce," Steve Carlisle, president and managing director of GM Canada said in the statement. 

"The challenges of the past months have been hard on all of us but now it's time to show the character of our region and our plant."

Union officials expect workers to return to the job Monday night. 

with files from Amanda Margison and The Canadian Press