When an agreement wasn't reached by the 10:59 p.m. deadline Sunday, workers at the automotive plant walked off the job.
Securing jobs was the key to a collective agreement to replace one expiring in September between GM and its 2,800 CAMI workers, said Unifor president Jerry Dias in February.
The Chevrolet Equinox is the only vehicle now being produced at CAMI.
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. GM has the ability to produce the Equinox at two of its Mexico plants as well, but thus far those plants have churned out less than 1-percent of total Equinox output this year.
The plant now produces the Equinox, but some are still manufactured in Mexico, which makes GM better equipped to handle the strike.
Dias said GM was unwilling to designate CAMI as the lead North American producer of the Equinox, stoking concerns that GM could eventually shift production out of Canada and into Mexico. "They can't make a unilateral decision to take away the Terrain and lay off hundreds of people and be naive enough to think we won't have a reaction". We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement.
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- In early 2015, not quite three years ago, General Motors invested $560 million in the Cami plant.
Kristin Dziczek, director of the industry, labor and economics group at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, said the impact on GM's bottom line will grow the longer the strike lasts.
Dias and other labor leaders in Canada, the USA and Mexico have been deeply involved in NAFTA renegotiations, which are set to resume in Ottawa on Saturday.
"While General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have made very positive progress on several issues over the past weeks, the company is disappointed that we were not able to complete a new agreement", said Jennifer Wright, GM Canada spokeswoman.
Equinox sales jumped 85% in August, while 2017 sales are up 17% at 185,223 units through the first eight months of the year.
The Ontario plant falls under a different contract than the four-year deal inked last year for GM's other Canadian factories.