GM workers at Ontario plant authorize strike

Workers at General Motors’ Ingersoll, Ontario, assembly plant voted Sunday to authorize a strike should no labor agreement be reached next month.

Unifor Local 88, which represents the CAMI Assembly workers, said 99.8 percent of workers at the plant voted for strike authorization.

The vote, largely a formality, gives Unifor leadership the authority to call a strike if the union and GM fail to reach an agreement on a new labour contract at the plant by the Sept. 17 deadline.

“The membership took an important step today to support the Bargaining Committee,” Unifor Local 88 President Dan Borthwick said in a statement. “The vote today sends a clear message to GM that the members stand behind the bargaining committee and the proposals that Unifor Local 88 put forward on behalf of the membership.”

The labor negotiations, which began last month, come as GM was set to lay off about 400 workers at the plant this month as it shifts GMC Terrain production to Mexico. About 200 workers took early retirement packages earlier this year.

Speaking with Automotive News Canada earlier this month, Unifor President Jerry Dias said the union’s top priority in negotiations with GM is to secure jobs for the laid off workers and to “maximize output” at the plant, which also builds the Chevrolet Equinox.

About 2,450 hourly workers will be employed at the plant following the layoffs, as well as about 300 salaried workers.

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