Unifor, GM reach tentative labour deal after extending negotiation

Deal recommended for 1,700 members working at GM plants in St. Catharines, Oshawa and Woodstock.

November 5, 2020   by CP STAFF

Matt Hough, GM Canada general director, human resources and labour relations (right) and Unifor president Jerry Dias (left) officially open up 2020 contract negotiations.

TORONTO — The union representing Canadian workers at General Motors says it has reached a tentative agreement after extending negotiations with the automaker.

General Motors Canada president Scott Bell said the automaker will bring pickup truck production back to its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant.

The automaker’s planned new investments will include $1 billion to $1.3 billion at Oshawa with the expected hiring of 1,400 to 1,700 hourly workers as well as $109 million in St. Catharines, Ont., to support added engine and transmission production. Another $500,000 million will be invested in operations at the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre.

The automaker says construction will begin immediately at Oshawa and will include a new body shop and flexible assembly module.


Oshawa pickup production is targeted to begin in January 2022.

Unifor had set a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 4 to reach a new, three-year labour deal and encouraged members to be prepared to strike if needed.

But the union said just before the deadline that its master bargaining committee was ready to negotiate all night to avoid a work stoppage.

The announcement of the deal, which still needs to be approved by GM’s union members, came about four and a half hours after Unifor said it would extend the deadline for the labour talks.

The vote is scheduled to take place Nov. 7.

Unifor said the deal is being unanimously recommended for 1,700 members working at GM plants in the southern Ontario cities of St. Catharines, Oshawa and Woodstock.

The Detroit automaker did not immediately provide a statement on the agreement.

Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president, is expected to give more information at a news conference at 10 a.m. ET.

The union said executives from GM came to Canada this week for face-to-face discussions as bargaining heated up.

Ahead of the deadline, the union said the company had not offered concrete commitments on future product plans, and was falling short of earlier agreements struck by Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Those deals, which were announced and voted on last month, will phase in about 2,000 new jobs over the next few years, helping the company bounce back from staffing cuts over recent months.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has said $14.4 million will be invested in its Toronto plant, $50 million will be invested in its Brampton, Ont., plant, and $1.35 billion to $1.5 billion will be invested in reinventing its Windsor, Ont., plant to produce at least one electric vehicle.