GM Canada Workers Strike Chevy Equinox Plant

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Workers at the General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) Cami assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, walked out on strike late Sunday night after company and union negotiators failed to reach a deal on a new contract.

A week ago, 99.8% of members in the Unifor labor union’s local 88 voted to authorize a strike if a deal could not be struck by the Sunday expiration date. GM employs about 2,752 workers at the Ingersoll plant.

Earlier this year, GM announced a layoff of some 600 workers at the Canadian plant, and so far 424 jobs have been shaved due to buyouts, retirements and some recalls of formerly laid-off workers. GM shifted production of its Terrain compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) from the Ingersoll plant to the San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico.

GM will continue to build its best-selling Chevy Equinox compact SUV at the Ingersoll plant. GM sold 28,245 of the vehicles in the United States last month, to garner a 10.5% share of the compact SUV market. Sales were up 20% month over month and 85% year over year. For the year to date, Equinox sales are up 17% compared with the first eight months of 2016.

GM spokeswoman Jennifer Wright told the Detroit Free Press:

While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the Company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement. We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement.

The union is seeking higher wages, benefit improvements and an investment in the Ingersoll plant similar to the $421 million investment GM promised to make in three other Canadian plants earlier this year. A total of $300 million of the agreed investment will go to the company’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant, which had been tabbed for closure in 2019.