Members of the Local Unifor 88 union, which represents workers at the GM CAMI assembly plant in Ontario, have voted to ratify a new agreement to produce the BrightDrop EV600 delivery van.
Under the new agreement, GM will invest $787 million USD into the Ingersoll, Ontario-based plant in order to retool it to begin production of the electric delivery vehicle, which it unveiled during a CES presentation earlier this month.
Production of the BrightDrop EV600 will commence at the CAMI plant in November of this year. The southern Ontario facility currently produces the Chevrolet Equinox, although production of the crossover at the Canadian plant is set to be phased out in 2023.
“This is the result of collaboration with the Ontario and federal governments,and General Motors,” Unifor president Jerry Dias said in a prepared statement. “I want to thank them and the Local 88 Master Bargaining Committee for working so hard to secure jobs for our members and create new ones for this community.”
The EV600 is the first mass-produced product from GM’s newly launched BrightDrop brand, which aims to provide electric vehicles, software solutions and other services to delivery and logistics companies. The purpose-built light commercial delivery van is powered by the GM Ultium modular battery system and can travel up to 250 miles on a full charge. The first batch of BrightDrop EV600 vans will go to FedEx, which will begin receiving the vehicles later this year. GM says it expects to make more of the EV600 vans available to customers other than FedEx starting in early 2022.
Under the newly ratified agreement, Local 88 members at CAMI will receive a five percent hourly wage increase, a $7,250 productivity and quality bonus, a total of $4,000 in inflation protection bonuses and improved benefits. Retooling work at the CAMI facility is expected to begin immediately.
Around 1,900 people currently work at the CAMI plant. Dias said he expects the employment levels to remain the same once full series production of the BrightDrop is underway next year. Despite this, there will be a temporary lay off and shut down period at the facility prior to the start of production of the BrightDrop EV600 in November, although the union did not say how long it expects the layoffs to last.