Unifor may call for early talks with GM Canada

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 19, 2015

Unifor may seek early negotiations to secure jobs at General Motors’ Oshawa site in Ontario, according to Unifor National President Jerry Dias. The union’s current contract will expire fall next year as part of the carmaker’s Oshawa work will also be shut down the same period. The US carmaker has long decided to close part of the facility – two assembly lines -- but has delayed it several times, most recently in 2013.

Dias referred to what happened in 2006, when Unifor predecessor -- the Canadian Auto Workers – inked a special "shelf" deal with GM to secure new investment in the middle of a contract. These shelf agreements typically include special concessions from workers in exchange for promised investment to protect jobs.

"We could easily do that again if instead there is a solution for consolidated and flex," remarked Dias. GM Canada has said in the past that it would not decide on the consolidated line until next year, although its president, Stephen Carlisle, did not rule out the possibility of early talks. Carlisle remarked to Reuters that since such talks were achieved before, he wouldn't rule it out.

Dias remarked that Unifor would need to know what vehicle GM is mulling to produce at the site. He recently held a "very good" meeting with GM chief executive Mary Barra.

He said that any talks would not make sense if they don’t know the product plans for the line, adding that Unifor needs to understand “what it is [they’re] chasing."

Topics: gm, canada

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