GM Employees in Canada Go On Strike Over Production Shifts to Mexico

Tuesday, 19 Sep, 2017

"We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement", GM Canada said in a statement, according to Reuters.

GM will continue to build its best-selling Chevy Equinox compact SUV at the Ingersoll plant.

Dias has pushed for higher working standards in the US and Mexico during current negotiations over changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Bloomberg said.

Speaking from the picket line on Monday, Unifor Local 88 plant chair Mike Van Boekel said workers are looking for a guarantee that production of the Equinox crossover vehicle will not be shifted to another plant.

Earlier this year the production of the GMC Terrain was shifted from the CAMI Assembly plant to Mexico, as the production of the Chevrolet Equinox was expanded at the same plant. The nation's largest automaker recently began selling a redesigned version of the small SUV, and supply at US dealers has declined amid strong demand.

"This is one of GM's most profitable plants", Dias said. The Terrain left, they moved it to Mexico. Dias has been sharply critical of the agreement, saying Canadian autoworkers would be better off with NAFTA being scrapped than it would be if a new deal failed to include higher labor standards in Mexico. In 2015, CAMI was awarded an $800 million investment to produce the newer Chevrolet Equinox. Unifor is asking GM to make a long-term commitment to the plant with future investments and products, but thus far has been unwilling to make such commitments to Unifor.

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Raw production figures don't always translate to inventory allotments for US dealers, and automakers often have flexibility to build or redirect more cars from other plants if shortfalls occur.

"We understand the uncertainty with this market", he said. For the year to date, Equinox sales are up 17% compared with the first eight months of 2016.

GM has fewer Equinox crossovers in stock in the USA than it did about a month ago. But Automotive News notes that the plant supplies a clear majority, accounting for 77 percent of Equinox SUVs built at all three plants between January and August 2017.

Other GM plants in Canada are not affected by this strike, as they received new four-year contracts last year.

Equinox production in North America is expected to rise 50.5% this year, according to a WardsAuto forecast.