GM, Unifor reach tentative agreement after half-day strike in Oshawa, St. Catharines
Published October 10, 2023 at 5:36 pm
In what could be the shortest general strike in GM Canada’s history, GM and Unifor reached a deal today, barely half a day after heading to the picket lines.
Unifor, which represents nearly 4,300 unionized workers in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock, is calling the new contract after the tentative agreement was signed this afternoon, with workers expected back to work today.
Unifor and General Motors have reached a tentative agreement following strike action at Oshawa Assembly Plant, St. Catharines Powertrain Plant and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre.
“When faced with the shutdown of these key facilities General Motors had no choice but to get serious at the table and agree to the pattern,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “The solidarity of our members has led to a comprehensive tentative agreement that follows the pattern set at Ford Motor Company to the letter, including all items that company had initial fought us on such as pensions, retiree income supports and converting full-time temporary workers into permanent employees over the life of the agreement.”
Strike actions are on hold for workers at locals 222, 199 and 636 to allow the membership to vote on the tentative agreement.
The company chose to look at the bright side in agreeing to terms on a new, tentative contract.
“This record agreement,” GM Canada said via social media, “recognizes the many contributions of our represented team members with significant increases in wages, benefits and job security while building on GM’s historic investments in Canadian manufacturing.”
Unifor Ford Master Bargaining Chair Jason Gale said all sides win in the deal, which bumps base hourly wage increases by nearly 20 per cent for production workers and 25 per cent for skilled trades over the lifetime of the agreement.
“All members will benefit now that the pattern is in place at GM, whether they’re temporary workers, new hires, or already at the top of the pay scale,” Gale said. “This agreement delivers the kind of historic pay increases our members need and significant pension improvements that will protect their living standards in retirement.”
The agreement with GM, which still has to be ratified by members, follows the pattern agreement Unifor reached with Ford Motor Company last month. Details of the agreement, including local and facility-specific information will be made available to members prior to ratification votes.
Highlights of the pattern agreement include:
- General wage increases in each year of the agreement with 10 per cent in year one, two per cent in year two and three per cent in year three.
- By the end of the three-year agreement, a top-rate production assembler will be paid $44.52 per hour, in addition to a forecasted $1.61 cost of living allowance (a total of $46.13); a journeyperson skilled trades worker will be paid $55.97 per hour, in addition to a forecasted $1.61 cost of living allowance (a total of $57.58).
- Reactivation of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) in December 2024.
- Wage progression reduced from eight to four years.
- Start rate for Temporary Part Time and production workers increasing from $24.26 to $29.67/hr., further increasing to $30.26 within 12 months, and $31.16 by the end of the agreement.
- The conversion of all full-time temporary workers, with at least one year of seniority at ratification, to permanent status.
- At Oshawa Assembly, the company has agreed to eliminate the use of the full-time temporary classification by August 1, 2026.
- $10,000 Productivity and Quality bonus for full-time employees (including current temporary full-time) as well as $4,000 for Temporary Part Time.
- Improvements to all pension plans.
- Mandatory company contributions to the DC plan increase from four per cent to seven per cent.
- Defined Contribution plan members will transition to a new Defined Benefits style pension for current plan members and all new hires on January 1, 2025.
- New quarterly payment unique to Canadian retirees, called the Universal Health Care Allowance. These quarterly payments will continue in each year of the 3-year agreement.
- Two new additional paid holidays: Family Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“Thanks to the solidarity of our members, GM will follow the pattern, including our core demands on pensions, retiree income supports and converting full-time temporary part-time workers to permanent status over the three-year agreement.” Unifor tweeted.
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