Union slams GM for threat to hike Mexico production
General Motors has declared “war on Canada” by threatening to move more production of the Equinox sport utility vehicle from Ontario to Mexico, Unifor national president Jerry Dias said Thursday.
Dias said the automaker told his union bluntly on Wednesday that Equinox production in Mexico is being ramped up and production at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll would wind down if Unifor Local 88 continues its 25-dayold strike.
He said General Motors is taking advantage of the low pay scales for Mexican workers at the expense of higher-paid workers in the United States and Canada, as permitted by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“General Motors did declare war on Canada,” Dias said, in a phone interview Thursday from Washington, D.C., where NAFTA trade talks are being held.
“This is GM saying to us — and saying to Canada — we’re going to ramp up production in Mexico and we’re going to flood the North American market from cars built in Mexico.”
General Motors Canada did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Dias said Unifor won’t back down about the CAMI plant and suggested the union could broaden its efforts to defend Unifor jobs throughout Ontario’s auto sector.
The CAMI plant is a prime example of a trend that has been happening for years, with GM adding plants in Mexico while closing Canadian and U.S. plants, Dias said
“This is the ugly side of NAFTA, that people don’t want to talk about. Mexican workers are being exploited and, as a result of that, we’re losing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in Canada and the United States. It has to stop.”
The CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll has been shut down by a strike since Sept. 18.