Unifor Secures New Investment From GM In Tentative Labor Agreement2
There will be no strike, and Oshawa has secured future product and millions of dollars of investment from GM. That’s the latest out of Canada from Unifor and General Motors, according to The Detroit News.
In the final hours before Unifor members hit the picket line, General Motors and the Canadian union reached a tentative four-year labor agreement. The biggest news? It includes hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment for the Oshawa assembly plant.
The negotiations were not easy, according to Unifor President Jerry Dias. But, he stated the union’s goals were accomplished in the final minutes before the deadline.
“Did we achieve our objective? I would suggest the answer is clearly yes,” Dias told reporters.
“We have found a solution for your facilities,” Dias said to the union’s GM workers. “To say this is a difficult set of negotiations is an incredible understatement.”
GM has released an official statement noting the new agreement will “enable significant new product, technology and process investments at GM’s Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock facilities, placing those operations at the forefront of advanced manufacturing flexibility, innovation and environmental sustainability.”
The Oshawa assembly will soon be capable of building both cars and trucks, but neither the union nor GM commented on which models would be heading up north for production. The deal also includes zero job cuts at the Oshawa assembly, but instead, Dias said Oshawa will be hiring in the short and long term.
It’s unclear if the Canadian government’s quiet switch to low-interest grants played a part in future investment for the country, but the news was seen as a lifeline for negotiations.
The negative piece to the agreement involves new hires, which will now be put on a defined contribution pension plan.
However, it’s a landslide victory for the Canadian union and finally shuts down fears of Oshawa’s closure.
“The fear of a closure is now over,” Dias said in celebration.
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Makes sense to build high profit margin tucks in Canada to help offset the higher manufacturing costs.
The defined contribution pension plan should be a big factor to help mitigate costs in the long run and while some Canadian costs might be higher (depending on exchange), the Canadian corporate tax rate is also lower.