GM wants early contract talks in Ontario, CAW says image

The Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) has recommended GM workers from the southern Ontario plant to accept the automaker’s request to open early labor talks.

Althought the contract expires in September, the CAW believes signing a new deal now could help secure jobs at the plant. A union representative on Monday told Reuters that he believes GM wants a new contract earlier than planned in order to lock in long-term costs before starting construction of a major addition to the Ingersoll plant in Ontario.

Mike Van Boekel, chairman of the Cami plant unit of Local 88 of the CAW said GM has begun site preparation and moved acres of dirt. He believes the addition will house a welding shop, required for plant production of next-generation vehicles in two years. The Cami plant employs about 2,700 hourly workers. It produced last year more than 300,000 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers. Even though the plant runs 24 hours a day, six days a week, it still has not kept pace with demand, Van Boekel said.

He dismissed speculation about GM planning to move production overseas. “GM has told us in meetings that they do plan on building where they sell, and GM is selling a lot of vehicles in Canada,” Van Boekel said.