DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.'s plan to build the Chevrolet Impala in a Michigan plant next year "creates a sense of nervousness" for the Ontario factory that makes the sedan now, the Canadian Auto Workers' leader said.
Workers at the Oshawa, Ontario, factory don't know what the consequences will be from GM's announcement Wednesday that it will spend $69 million and create 2,500 jobs at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant to add production of the Impala and Chevrolet Malibu, CAW President Ken Lewenza said.
"It creates a sense of nervousness because you need the market to substantiate two facilities building the same vehicle," he said. "If the market isn't there, one would have to take a look and question GM's decision when they already had the investment in the Oshawa facility."
GM is boosting output as the nation's auto sales rebound after dropping in 2009 to the fewest since 1982. U.S. deliveries of the Impala rose 30 percent this year through April from a year earlier, after a 3.9 percent gain for all of 2010. The Detroit-Hamtramck plant already builds the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car.
"We have made public Canadian production commitments and fully intend to meet those targets," Jason Easton, a spokesman for GM, said in response to Lewenza's comments.
The company has said annual output in Canada will be at least 16 percent of GM's total North American production and will be equal to 19 percent of what it builds in the U.S.
Lewenza also said the CAW won't support a two-tiered wage system similar to what the United Auto Workers agreed to in the U.S. four years ago.
The Canadian union feels "pressures" from GM for such a system, Lewenza said.
The UAW agreements call for $14-an-hour entry-level wages for new hires, and about $28 for senior workers. CAW members at the automaker are paid an average of about C$35 ($36) an hour, with entry-level workers starting at 70 percent of that and able to reach the senior rate after five years, Lewenza said.
The CAW's contract with GM expires in 2012.
"When we go into negotiations, I totally understand that as a result of the unemployment crisis and the lack of jobs, a two-tiered job is a pretty good job compared to what else is being offered," Lewenza said. "But the reality is it is very, very decisive."
UAW Vice President Joe Ashton, who negotiates with GM, said Wednesday that he wants to raise the entry-level wage in talks this year. The union's contract with GM expires in September.