Cami asks GM for new work to avoid strike Co.

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - REPORT ON BUSINESS WEEKEND - GREG KEENAN AUTO IN­DUS­TRY REPORTER

Talks be­tween Gen­eral Mo­tors

and Uni­for on a new labour agree­ment for work­ers at Cami Au­to­mo­tive Inc. in Inger­soll, Ont., are ex­pected to go down to the wire ahead of a strike dead­line late Sun­day.

About 2,500 work­ers at the plant as­sem­ble the Chevro­let Equinox cross­over. De­mand for the Equinox and its twin, the GMC Ter­rain, have kept the plant op­er­at­ing three shifts a day, six days a week for the past sev­eral years and made it one of the auto maker’s most pro­duc­tive and prof­itable fac­to­ries.

But GM’s shift in pro­duc­tion of the Ter­rain to Mex­ico this sum­mer led to the loss of 600 jobs at the plant and anger and un­ease among re­main­ing work­ers.

Uni­for pres­i­dent Jerry Dias has said that work­ers will go on strike un­less GM ear­marks an­other ve­hi­cle for the plant to re­place Ter­rain.

A strike would choke off pro­duc­tion of one of GM’s hottest­selling ve­hi­cles in one of the fastest-grow­ing seg­ments of the mar­ket. Equinox sales soared 85 per cent in the U.S. mar­ket last month and jumped 33 per cent in Canada.

Talks on the new con­tract come one year af­ter Uni­for won a com­mit­ment from GM that it would keep a plant in Oshawa, Ont., open in part by ship­ping un­fin­ished pickup-truck bod­ies to that plant from In­di­ana. Work­ers in Oshawa would in­stall in­te­ri­ors and per­form fi­nal assem­bly of the ve­hi­cles.

The con­tract for Cami work­ers has al­ways been sep­a­rate from the other labour agree­ments Uni­for has with the Detroit Big Three auto mak­ers.

Al­though it is a sep­a­rate labour deal, Cami con­tracts have tra­di­tion­ally fit into what is known as pat­tern bar­gain­ing, where an agree­ment with one com­pany sets the pat­tern for all Uni­for-rep­re­sented auto mak­ers.

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