General Motors Canada says it will return its pickup assembly business to its plant in Oshawa, Ontario, if a new business deal with its largest union is approved.
Unifor has set a midnight deadline for Wednesday to reach a new three-year business deal with General Motors and has strike mandate from its members if the deadline passes.
But the federation said shortly before the deadline that its main bargaining committee had made progress and wanted to keep talking. About four and a half hours after the deadline was extended, an initial deal was struck. The ratification vote will take place on Sunday.
Unifor said the deal was unanimously recommended to 1,700 members working at GM’s plants in the southern Ontario cities of St. Catharines, Oshawa and Woodstock.
In a statement, the Detroit automaker said the deal will see further work for all of its three plants in Canada, including a return of assembly work to its facility in Oshawa, UNT.
“Subject to ratification of the 2020 agreement with Unifor, GM plans to return pickup production to the Oshawa assembly plant while making additional investments in the St. Catharines push plant and Woodstock parts distribution center,” Scott Bell, president of General Motors Canada, told CBC News. The current situation.
The company says the deal will bring $ 1 billion to $ 1.3 billion in new investment into Oshawa, with an expected employment of 1,400 to 1,700 workers an hour. This would return the factory’s workforce of approximately 2,000 people.
That’s nearly the number that worked there when GM suddenly pulled most assembly work from the factory about two years ago. The last car assembled in Oshawa went off the line in December of 2019, and the facility has been a spare parts factory ever since. It also produces N95 masks as part of a government contract announced earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the plant employs around 300 people.
GM said in a statement that the deal would also bring in business worth $ 109 million for the St. Catherine plant and transmission, and about $ 500,000 for the Woodstock facility.
The popularity of pickup trucks is key to the deal. General Motors CEO Mary Barra told analysts on a profit conference Thursday that demand for lucrative models such as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra is so strong that the factories that manufacture them operate “around the clock”.
“The truth is we simply cannot build enough, and because we expect demand to remain strong, we must increase capacity,” she said.
The first pickup trucks are expected to be launched in Oshawa in 2022. The company has not specified which pickup trucks will be manufactured in Oshawa, but Flavio Volpe, president of the Auto Parts Manufacturers Association, says he suspects they will be moving some of the Silverado and Sierra work there.
When GM canceled assembly in Oshawa, it didn’t shut down the plant entirely, and Volpi says he was telling us the company had kept about 300 workers on hand to continue making parts there.
“That was an indication that the factory would be operational if there was a product for it,” he said.
Previously, the Oshawa Factory would finalize Silverados and Sierras that were mostly finished from a factory in Fort Wayne, Ind. Now it will be fully assembled at Oshawa, breathe new life into Canada’s oldest continuously operating car factory.
General Motors has owned and operated the facility since 1953, but it has been making cars since 1908, and it was at one point the company’s largest factory in the world, producing 750,000 cars annually.
“This is a generation-to-generation commitment to the Oshawa auto industry,” Volpi said.
The union says the deal could mean up to 2,000 new jobs when assembly begins in January 2022, with a second shift added in March. Unifor said there are plans to add a second car in May, and if a third shift is added in July 2022, that could be 500 more jobs.
The third deal with the Big 3
The startling news came after Unifor warned that GM had not made concrete commitments on future product plans, and was falling short of previous agreements struck by Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
One of the major regulations for the deal with Chrysler will see the company secure government assistance to redesign its plant in Windsor, Ontario, to produce at least one electric vehicle.
It is unclear if any government money will be part of the expansion at GM.