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Unifor, automakers begin negotiations with COVID-19, economy in focus

On the lookout for attempts by manufacturers to use COVID-19 as an ``excuse'' going forward.

August 12, 2020   by CP STAFF

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor.
Photo: OFL

TORONTO — Union representatives have begun negotiations over wages and benefits for the next four years with the Canadian arms of the Detroit Three automakers.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employment landscape will be in focus as Unifor seeks to make a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCA, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.

The existing agreements expire on Sept. 21.

Auto sales plummeted this spring during the peak months of the pandemic, and production lines stalled as automakers shut down plants.

But Unifor national president Jerry Dias says he will be on the lookout for any attempts by the manufacturers to use COVID-19 as an “excuse” going forward, as the union tries to secure new product commitments and job security for plants in Ontario cities Oakville, Brampton, Windsor and St. Catharines.

Unifor represents about 20,000 Canadian workers at the three automakers.

 


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