CORRECTION: A previous version of this report incorrectly identified the expiration date of the new contract. If ratified, it will expire Sept. 17, 2024.
Unifor said it had to make “hard decisions” to secure the future of General Motors’ CAMI Assembly plant, which would begin building all-electric delivery vans later this year under the terms of a surprise, three-year tentative contract.
“The stakes going in to these negotiations were incredibly high,” reads a joint message to union members by Unifor Local 88 President Joe Graves and Plant Chairperson Mike Van Boekel. “With the combustion engine [Chevrolet] Equinox program coming to an end, all the elements were lining up in place for the worst-case scenario.”
GM and Unifor on Friday agreed to a tentative, three-year deal covering the 1,900 hourly workers at the Ingersoll, Ontario, plant, months before the current contract was set to expire in September. Formal negotiations between the two sides quietly began on Jan. 4, culminating in the announcement of a $787 million (C$1 billion) investment in the plant to begin building GM’s new EV600 electric van starting this year.
It was a surprise announcement for the plant, which currently builds GM’s popular Equinox crossover on two shifts. Under the terms of the contract, subject to ratification by union members, Equinox production would be phased out over the next two years in order to facilitate EV600 production. (It is unclear to where Equinox production would be shifted, though it is currently also built at two plants in Mexico.)