Additional details and specifics have begun to trickle out ahead of the finalization of Unifor and General Motors’ new, four-year labor agreement.
The Detroit News reports the deal includes $520 million of investment for the Oshawa assembly and St. Catherines plants, plus new product to be assembled at the Oshawa facility. Both of these were of top concern for Unifor negotiators. It was stated there would be absolutely no deal if GM did not commit to future production and investment in Canada.
Wage increases and full-time status is also coming to current temporary workers, also positives from the latest contract.
$400 million will be allocated for the Oshawa assembly plant, specifically, its flex line, while $120 million will be set aside for St. Catherines. It’s still unclear what vehicles will be built in Oshawa, but Unifor President Jerry Dias has stated the plant will be capable of producing both cars and trucks. He also stated Oshawa would be hiring new workers for the inbound product.
“I expect we’ll be able to build pretty well anything within the General Motors portfolio,” Dias said.
Specifically for the St. Catherines facility, GM is expected to shift some powertrain work from Mexico, including new transmission production. An extension of the V6 engine built at the plant is also confirmed, according to sources close to the agreement.
The report states the Canadian government did not step in to help sway discussions, but it was previously reported the country would switch from low-interest loans to low-interest grants regarding its Automotive Innovation Fund, an enticing proposition for automakers to invest in Canada.
Overall, workers are utterly pleased with the results from negotiations, with some saying it’s a much-needed morale boost.
“I think there’s a sense of relief for a lot of people,” said Joel Smith, an organizer for Unifor Local 222 which represents Oshawa workers. “This is something that needed to come to a head; it needed to be decided one way or another. The indication is we have a future, which is something we didn’t have a week ago.”