Unifor members at GM vote 80 per cent in favour of new contract

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Published October 15, 2023 at 4:57 pm

gm strike st catharines

Canada’s largest private-sector union says workers at General Motors Co. have a new three-year collective agreement, with 80.5 per cent of them ratifying it in a vote held online and in person.

The newly bargained agreement covers more than 4,300 workers at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, St. Catharines Powertrain Plant and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre in Ontario.

Unifor national president Lana Payne expressed pride in GM workers’ solidarity throughout the strike action and for ratifying the contract.

“This agreement reflects true collective bargaining,” Payne said in a statement Sunday.

“Our goal was to bring more fairness and equity to auto workplaces and to lift everyone up. We did that.”

General Motors agreed to follow the terms set by the Ford contract about 12 hours after Unifor members went on strike last week at GM’s Oshawa assembly plant, St. Catharines propulsion plant and Woodstock parts distribution centre.

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The terms of the deal matched the contract agreed to last month at Ford Motor Co., where 54 per cent of union members voted to accept the deal.

The agreement cuts the wage progression grid from eight to four years, reducing the time it takes for workers to reach the top rate of pay. The union said that it is especially significant for workers at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, where the majority of them were hired when the plant reopened in 2021.

Wages for top-of-scale workers in production is to increase by 20 per cent and 25 per cent for skilled trades. The agreement also brings back the cost-of-living allowance for the first time since 2008 to help protect workers’ wages from inflationary pressure and will benefit retirees with a new quarterly universal health allowance.

The agreement is also to help many part-time workers across GM facilities take permanent full-time roles.

Unifor will now turn its attention to reaching the same terms with Stellantis.

The company has more than 8,000 employees at two assembly plants and a casting plant, and has a larger footprint than either Ford or GM.

Payne said she is expecting more tough negotiations ahead.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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