JCI, Unifor labor deal averts threat to GM output in Canada

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About 300 unionized workers at a Johnson Controls Inc. interiors plant in Ontario ratified a new three-year contract, heading off a potential strike at the factory and work stoppage at General Motors’ Oshawa assembly complex.

The workers at JCI’s Whitby, Ontario, plant on Sunday ratified the contract, according to Unifor, the Canadian labor union that rolled together the CAW with other labor unions a year ago.

The contract keeps the interior trim plant open and provides a $1,500 signing bonus with no wage concessions, the union said in a statement.

“This deal shows what can happen when workers stand together and think creatively about keeping good jobs in their community," Unifor President Jerry Dias said in the statement.

In a fiery Detroit speech in June to the UAW Constitution Convention, Dias said the union would strike at Whitby if JCI tried to go ahead with plans to close the plant.

Dias said a strike at Whitby would cripple production at GM’s Oshawa manufacturing hub. The company has two assembly lines there that produce two generations of Chevrolet Impala sedans, the Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS sedans, the Chevrolet Equinox crossover and the Chevrolet Camaro sports car.

Dias started meeting with JCI and GM executives about the plant shortly after the speech. The previous three-year contract expired Aug. 21.

Under a contract that just expired, Whitby workers made concessions in return for a JCI commitment that the plant would remain open beyond the three-year pact, Dias told UAW delegates.

You can reach David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com. -- Follow David on Twitter and


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