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Unifor Demands GM Restore CAMI Jobs — Or Else

Dias joins chorus calling for NAFTA redo.

by on Feb.17, 2017

Unifor President Jerry Dias harshly criticized GM's plan to move some SUV production from Ontario to Mexico.

As automakers are trying to figure what will happen with the North American Free Trade Agreement, another saber is rattling in the ears of General Motors — Unifor is demanding the company restore 625 jobs its moving to Mexico or else.

Unifor, the Canadian auto workers union, is looking to secure as many jobs as it can as it heads into negotiations for the Ingersoll, Ontario, plant this fall. Currently there are about 2,800 employees at the facility.

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The plant builds the vast majority of GM’s best-selling crossover, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. However, the company announced earlier this year, Terrain production will be shifting to Mexico along with 625 jobs.

This move didn’t sit well with Jerry Dias, Unifor’s president, and he’s ready to make hay about it in the upcoming negotiations for the plant.

(Canadian auto union blasts GM for moving work to Mexico. Click Here for the story.)

“We’re going to have to find a solution,” Dias told Reuters. “And we’re going to have to find a solution now, as opposed to waiting for September.”

Dias blames NAFTA as well as Mexico’s low labor costs for the job losses. He said the move wasn’t warranted given the popularity of the vehicles and profitability of the facility. The plant will continue to build the next-gen Equinox.

The strong-selling Equinox gives the union some leverage in its negotiations with the automaker. A slowdown or a strike could provide Unifor with some leverage, according to one analyst.

(Automakers look for options, weight costs under Trump. Click Here for the story.)

“If they strike there and the majority of Equinoxes come out of CAMI, that gives Unifor some power,” Joe McCabe, president of AutoForecast Solutions LLC told Reuters.

The Ingersoll plant was not part of a four-year deal the union negotiated with GM Canada last fall, securing $422.6 million in new investments for other plants. However, it seems unlikely that Dias is done with NAFTA, which he blames for the job shift in the first place.

(Automakers look for options, weight costs under Trump. Click Here for the story.)

“We have a real opportunity to renegotiate NAFTA,” he said at the Toronto Auto Show today. “I believe in trade, but the trade deals we have are hurting workers”

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