Signs of progress are being reported from the bargaining table, according to The Detroit News. Both Unifor and General Motors Canada have made inroads to a new, four-year labor agreement as a strike looms this evening.
The report states bargainers have made significant progress in the areas of health and safety, pensions and benefits, production standards and skilled trades. However, no news has been reported on product and investment allocation to the Oshawa assembly plant.
The Oshawa plant remains the topic to cover for a four-year agreement to be reached; Unifor President Jerry Dias stated there would be no agreement without investment into Oshawa. Without any future product, Oshawa is expected to shut its doors by the year 2020.
In other news, The Detroit Free Press has reported a possible game changer in an effort to hand Unifor a lifeline.
It’s reported the Canadian government is quietly changing terms under its Automotive Innovation Fund. Currently, the fund offers low-interest loans to automakers to do business in the country. It was originally put in place during the Great Recession to ease stress on automakers who could not secure loans at the time.
Except, now, automakers are going elsewhere to grab even lower-interest loans. Therefore, the Canadian government is said to be switching to a low-interest grant program. It would certainly make Canada a much more appealing country to do business in with the idea of grants on the table.
“Yes, the federal government has clearly signaled that they are going to shift direction and that is very positive,” Dias said. “Do I believe that that will play a role and provide an assistance to us in our negotiations? The answer is yes.”