Ingersoll feels Cami walkout’s effects
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.