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Unifor Members Ratify General Motors Agreement, Reveal Details

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As Unifor, Canada’s largest auto manufacturing workers’ union, and General Motors entered into negotiations, the largest concern was that the automaker would pull out of Canada completely, leaving empty its current facilities at the Oshawa, St. Catharines, and Woodstock facilities and also leaving the thousands of workers without jobs.

However, good news came when GM and Unifor announced that an agreement had been reached which would keep the plants open, including bringing in new models, promoting temporary workers, and increasing wages. Until the agreement was ratified by the Unifor members, though, we weren’t going to get any specifics, since the agreement could still be changed.

That is no longer a problem, though, as the Unifor members have officially ratified the new agreement by 64.7% overall.

Specifically, the deal reached with the 4,000 members in Oshawa, St. Catharines, and Woodstock includes a $554 million investment in Canada—this includes new product for Oshawa, shifting volume to St. Catharines, and improving the parts distribution center in Woodstock. A full 700 temporary positions will be moved to full-time job status (including benefits, pension, signing bonus, and a $1,000 lump sum increase and wage progression). Overall, the wages increase 4% over the life of the contract and a lump sum totaling $12,000 over four years. Finally, GM will offer a signing bonus of $6,000, and will improve its new hire program, providing thousands of dollars of new income.

Now, the union is set for negotiations with Fiat-Chrysler and Ford in the coming weeks.

“In the negotiations with GM, the union set clear objectives which we reached, including our top priority to secure investment and product for our members and the future of the auto industry,” Unifor President Jerry Dias said. “With Fiat-Chrysler and Ford we will accept nothing less.”