General Motors Canada says there are limits to collective bargaining
General Motors Canada says it wants to reach an agreement with 2,800 of its striking workers in Ontario – but the automaker giant says international and domestic trade talks keep getting in the way.
The members of Unifor Local 88 walked off the job at the CAMI Automotive assembly plant on Sept. 17. They're demanding GM designate the Ingersoll plant as North America's lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox.
The union's national president Jerry Dias said on Thursday that GM representatives told the bargaining committee that the automaker is ramping up production of the Equinox at two plants in Mexico.
The source from GM says, production in Mexico is "steady" for now. But the company is studying what it will take to continue to supply the North American market with the Equinox – the automaker's most popular vehicle. At the same time, the source points out GM has invested $800 million in the Ingersoll plant implying that should speak to the company's commitment to its workers.
Concerns about international trade began for the union after GM relocated production of the GMC Terrain earlier this year to Mexico, which resulted in the loss of about 400 jobs in Ingersoll. The company currently has two plants in Mexico that build the Equinox.
The company clarified that it has resolved several economic issues revolving around pay and benefits. GM sources said the union shouldn't get bogged down on national trade agreement policies that can't be resolved in a smaller-scale collective agreement.
Earlier this month, Dias called the strike the "poster child with what's wrong with the North American Free Trade Agreement" – the policy currently being renegotiated by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
In September, about 100 striking CAMI workers joined national representatives in Ottawa to march during NAFTA talks.