Unionized employees at General Motors’ CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ontario, are on strike. Unifor Local 88 and General Motors were unable to reach an agreement by Sunday’s deadline. At 11:00 p.m. ET, workers at the plant traded the assembly line for the picket one, ending production of the recently redesigned Chevrolet Equinox.
Despite both sides having spent the weekend saying they were making headway in talks, it wasn’t enough to avoid the shutdown. In a post-strike statement, General Motors reiterated this fact.
“While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement,” said GM.
Unifor members at CAMI operate under a different contract than workers at other GM assembly and parts plants in Canada, meaning they weren’t part of last year’s negotiations.
The union’s demands include improved wages, additional benefits, and new product to offset Mexico’s picking up production of the GMC Terrain — which CAMI used to produce alongside the Chevy Equinox until this year. GM had hoped that, by shifting some of its D2XX SUV assembly out of Canada, it could convince its Ingersoll workforce to improve production of the very popular Equinox. However, the shift did not go over well with employees.
As a result, Unifor is seeking a formal commitment from GM that Equinox production will remain in Canada. The automaker spent over $500 million to retool the Ingersoll factory for the current Equinox, though the crossover is also assembled in smaller numbers at two plants in Mexico.
The union issued a statement to workers late Sunday: “Your master bargaining committee has not been successful in securing a tentative agreement with the company. The membership of Unifor Local 88 working at the GM CAMI assembly plant will be on strike at 10:59 pm tonight, Sunday, September 17, 2017.”
Stalling production will affect more than just the CAMI plant. Other operations, including an engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario, that supplies powertrains to Ingersoll, will be hampered as a result of the strike. As well, numerous component suppliers will be forced to scale back volume if CAMI remains idled for too long.