We’re two days away from Unifor and General Motors Canada’s deadline for a new, four-year labor agreement. If on September 19 a deal is not struck, Unifor has authorized a strike of its 6,000-plus employees.
Suppliers are already working out worse case scenario plans, according to The Toronto Sun. Specifically, it would curb production significantly at Lakeside Plastics, a major employer.
Lakeside Plastics employs 400 salaried workers, and President Jim Gazo says a strike could have major implications.
“In the short term, there probably won’t be much of an impact, but if it’s an extended period — a week and beyond — it will have some impact,” said Gazo.
“Worst case scenario — up to 50 people could be affected, however, the plant’s other work activity could keep most on the job,” Gazo added.
“The problem is you never know how long it’s going to last.”
A strike would begin to cripple GM’s North American supply chain, specifically at the St. Catherine’s powertrain plant. United Auto Workers President, Dennis Williams, refused to comment on if his union would pick up production for GM in the U.S. if it came to that. Williams has previously backed Unifor and stated the UAW will support whatever happens.
Gazo said he will be watching closely and working with union officials to weather the possibility of a long strike.
“We are going to be more cautious on maintaining a level of labour here to keep business going,” he said. “We are watching the negotiations from a distance. There are big stakes here and in Toronto.”