Inger­soll feels Cami walkout’s ef­fects

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - DAN BROWN and JEN­NIFER BIEMAN

Inger­soll’s mayor says the South­west­ern On­tario com­mu­nity of 13,000 is feel­ing the pinch from the strike by Cami work­ers, now in its fourth week.

“We’re feel­ing the ef­fects, whether it’s at our gro­cery stores or com­mer­cial out­lets downtown,” Mayor Ted Comiskey said Tues­day.

Comiskey un­der­stands money is tight for the 2,800 work­ers who walked out Sept. 10 and there’s not much he can do to bridge the gap be­tween what he calls a strong union and a pri­vate em­ployer.

“We re­ally don’t have a place at that ta­ble,” the mayor said, though he hopes talks don’t break off.

“I’m a talker. So I hope they keep talk­ing,” he said. “I’m sure they have a feel­ing for all the folks that are af­fected by (the strike). They’re good peo­ple.”

The union rep­re­sent­ing strik­ing work­ers at the Cami assem­bly plant in Inger­soll and Gen­eral Mo­tors Canada re­mained “apart” on eco­nomics and job se­cu­rity as they re­turned to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble Tues­day, the lo­cal union pres­i­dent said.

About 15 Uni­for rep­re­sen­ta­tives and 10 or 12 from the au­to­mo­tive gi­ant re­sumed for­mal talks at 8 a.m. in Wood­stock, the union’s Lo­cal 88 pres­i­dent, Dan Borth­wick, said.

“We’re hav­ing dis­cus­sions,” he said. “We’re plan­ning to meet the en­tire week as long as talks progress.”

The union said both sides had “worked through a lot of the con­tract lan­guage,” but re­mained at odds on job se­cu­rity and eco­nomic is­sues, in­clud­ing wages and ben­e­fits.

At least one an­a­lyst is baf­fled by the long strike.

“It’s very un­usual given the type of labour re­la­tions we’ve had over the last decade or so,” said labour an­a­lyst Kristin Dz­iczek of the Cen­ter for Au­to­mo­tive Re­search in Ann Ar­bor, Mich. “This is very un­usual.”

GM has made re­cent in­vest­ments at the Cami plant, one that it views favourably, she said. The plant also pro­duces a pop­u­lar ve­hi­cle. So Dz­iczek never an­tic­i­pated a strike there.


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