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GM, Unifor reach tentative deal to build electric delivery vans in Ontario

Automaker eyeing $1 billion plan to upgrade plant to make electric vans for customers like FedEx.

Union to hold ratification vote over the weekend, with final results Monday

General Motors is set to transform its Ingersoll, Ont., plant into a facility focused on building electric delivery vans if a deal reached with its union is ratified by workers. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

GM Canada says it has reached a tentative deal with Unifor that, if ratified, will see it invest $1 billion to transform its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., to make commercial electric vehicles.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said along with the significant investment, the agreement between the company and union will mean new products, new jobs and job security for workers.

In a statement, Dias said that more details of the tentative deal will be presented to Unifor Local 88 members at an online ratification meeting scheduled for Sunday.

He said the results of the ratification vote are scheduled to be released on Monday.

Details of the agreement were not released Friday night, but the Ontario government issued a statement on Saturday praising the deal as "good news."

"Unifor and General Motors have worked together to reach a tentative deal that will further strengthen Ontario's world-class auto sector for its workers, their families and the communities they live in," a joint statement from Premier Doug Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said.

FedEx lined up to buy electric delivery vans

A GM spokesperson said in a statement that the plan is to build BrightDrop EV 600s — an all-new GM business announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show that will offer a cleaner way for delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. The growth of online shopping has increased demand for electric vans.

BrightDrop's first customer is FedEx, which will begin receiving GM's EV600 electric vans later this year.

The Ingersoll plant currently makes Chevrolet Equinox SUVs.

Unifor said the contract would bring total investment negotiated by the union to nearly $6 billion after new agreements were ratified with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler in 2020 that included support from the federal and Ontario governments.

It said the Ford deal reached in September included $1.95 billion to bring battery electric vehicle production to Oakville, Ont., and a new engine derivative to Windsor, Ont., while the Fiat Chrysler agreement included more than $1.5 billion to build plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles.

Unifor said in November that General Motors agreed to a $1.3 billion investment to bring 1,700 jobs to Oshawa, Ont., plus more than $109 million to insource new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V8 engine production in St. Catharines, Ont.

With files from The Associated Press and CBC News

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