Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, is currently in talks with GM to hash out a new labor contract following the ratification of a tentative agreement between Unifor and Ford. The Ford agreement is being used a template in negotiations between Unifor and GM. However, General Motors is reportedly pushing back in negotiations.
According to a recent report from The Globe And Mail, Unifor national president Lana Payne has indicated that talks with GM are slow-going, with GM reportedly refusing to sign off on some of the terms laid out in Unifor’s agreement with Ford. Payne declined to specify which points were in contention.
“Anyone who thinks that a pattern is a matter of sitting down with these companies and getting them to rubber stamp it needs to understand it is totally not like that,” Payne said.
“It is a fight right now,” Payne added. “It’s a fight at the bargaining table with GM, but if we can’t get this pattern achieved, it ends up in one place – on a picket line.” The strike deadline is currently set for October 9th.
The new agreement between GM and Unifor will affect 4,200 hourly employees at several of GM’s Canadian facilities, including workers at the GM Oshawa plant, St. Catharines engine and transmission plant, and a parts warehouse in Woodstock.
Unifor ratified a new three-year collective agreement with Ford of Canada late last month, outlining a general 15-percent wage increase and a near 20-percent base hourly wage increase, a $10,000 bonus, pension improvements, and investments to improve existing Ford production facilities. The new agreement will be used as a template in negotiations with GM and Stellantis, a strategy that is designed to ensure equal treatment for employees across a given sector, forcing companies to compete on products, rather than which company can pay workers the least.
Despite being hailed as a significant win for workers, the new Ford agreement was ratified by just 54 percent of the 5,680 Unifor members that work at Ford.