Canada: GM union considering early pay talks image

According to Unifor National President Jerry Dias the union that speaks for GM’s Canadian workers is mulling early negotiations about the fate of auto jobs at the automaker’s Oshawa, Ontario operations.

Unifor’s ongoing deal is set to expire in the fall of 2016 and at least a part of GM’s Oshawa operations, the consolidated line, is scheduled for closure during the same period – after its shutdown was already postponed in more than one occasion, the most recent being in 2013. Dias said the situation has similar elements to the one from 2006, back in the days of Unifor’s predecessor (Canadian Auto Workers union) – when a special “shelf” deal was brokered with General Motors to bring new investment pledges during an ongoing contract. “We could easily do that again if instead there is a solution for consolidated and flex,” said Dias, talking about Oshawa’s two assembly lines. “I would never walk away from a commitment to product.”

Naturally, the shelf deals traditionally involve a range of special pledges and concessions from the workers in exchange for the automaker’s commitment to investment that can safeguard jobs. GM Canada, the local unit of the largest US automaker and the third biggest carmaker in the world, has talked in the past about the consolidated line, saying its final decision would not be possible until 2016 – but GM Canada President Stephen Carlisle also didn’t rule out the possibility of early negotiations when asked about Unifor’s drive. GM also has yet to reveal the vehicle intended for production at the Canadian site and its announcement would be needed before the union starts negotiations, Dias added.

Via Automotive News Europe