GM workers in Ontario strike

GM Chevrolet Equinox SUVs Roll Off Production Line In Wuhan

Unifor members at the General Motors auto assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., went on strike at 11 p.m. ET Sunday after the union failed to reach a tentative agreement with the vehicle maker.

Securing jobs was the key to a collective agreement to replace one expiring in September between GM and its 2,800 CAMI workers, said Unifor president Jerry Dias in February. The CAMI assembly plant, which has made 132,288 units through August, accounts for most production.

In July, production of the Terrain in Ingersoll ceased and all production moved to Mexico, resulting in 600 layoffs, the union said.

"They're telling us that the GM plant in St. Catharines that supplies their motors and engines, they will be going down Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning and that 1,700 workers are out of a job".

Workers at the plant went on strike at 10:59 p.m.

The union says GM won't designate the factory as lead producer of the Equinox.

The huge GM-owned CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.

The Unifor union blames the move of the Terrain to San Luis Potosi, Mexico, from Ingersoll on NAFTA, which has created more favorable production costs for GM. "We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement", read a statement from the automaker.

Dias has emerged as the face for labor during renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, pushing for higher working standards in both the US and Mexico.

Raw production figures don't always translate to inventory allotments for USA dealers, and automakers often have flexibility to build or redirect more cars from other plants if shortfalls occur.

The union is seeking higher wages, benefit improvements and an investment in the Ingersoll plant similar to the $421 million investment GM promised to make in three other Canadian plants earlier this year.

"This is one of GM's most profitable plants", Dias said.

"They took it down to Mexico strictly because the Mexican workers are making $3 an hour U.S. We can't compete with that". The Equinox is also produced in Mexico and CAMI workers fear for the plant's future in Canada. The redesigned 2018 Equinox hit dealers in the spring, and sales through August for the nameplate - which include both the new and old generations - are up 16.9 percent amid consumer fervor for all things SUV.

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