An article that surfaced last September indicated workers at the GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario were concerned about their professional futures, given the 12-month timeline that GM had laid out to retool the plant to produce electric BrightDrop utility vehicles, and the difficulties they faced during the pandemic and semiconductor chip shortage.
Now Unifor, the Canadian labor union that represents workers at the CAMI facility, has released a video telling the stories of some of the CAMI plant workers that will return to their posts at the facility once re-tooling work is completed later this year. The video is intended to promote CAMI’s efforts to secure BrightDrop production at the Canadian plant, however it does acknowledge the difficulties that many CAMI plant workers faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the chip shortage and now the retooling-related plant shutdown.
“We were basically told that they were going to move [Chevy Equinox Production] to Mexico,” said Unifor Local 88 chair Mike Van Boekel. “They gave us a two-year window that the plant was going to close, and they offered us a new program called BrightDrop.”
“Either we buy into BrightDrop, or this plant is probably going to fold,” said Charlotte Johnston, a Unifor Local 88 member and CAMI employee. “And when that’s on the table, you’re not only thinking about your own mortgage, but you’re thinking about the community.”
GM’s decision to bring BrightDrop production to CAMI saved the plant and thousands of manufacturing jobs in southern Ontario, but workers at CAMI still face an uphill battle as they wait for the plant to come back online. Production of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 is currently being handled by a third-party supplier as GM retools the CAMI facility, with that work expected to be completed later this year. Vehicles are expected to begin rolling off the assembly line there in December.
“In eight months we are going to be full out producing BrightDrops as quick as we can possibly make them,” Van Boekel said in the video, which was filmed earlier this year.
Check out the video embedded below to hear from CAMI employees about the coming arrival of BrightDrop.