The impact of the United Auto Workers strike is being felt in General Motors operations and its related supply chain on both sides of the border.
Following the expiration of their collective agreement, 49,000 UAW members began strike action early on September 16 bringing production at 55 factories and parts centers in the U.S. to a halt.
Within the week vehicle production at Oshawa assembly stopped and the ripple effect then spread to St. Catharine’s engine production and many independent part suppliers, leaving approximately 2,600 GM and 1,800 independent parts supplier members on temporary layoff in Canada.
“Unifor supports the UAW in its negotiations to get a fair contract settlement for its GM members, so that auto workers on both sides of the border can return to work,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
On September 17, Unifor Local 444 sent a delegation of members to Detroit to stand in solidarity with striking UAW workers.
“The fight by the UAW GM members is a fight for all manufacturing workers including Canadian workers,” said David Cassidy, President Unifor Local 444.
“When a company like GM has made billions in profits in the last two years and the CEO takes home more than $20 million in yearly compensation, it’s unjust, unethical and outright disrespectful to all of those UAW members who are fighting for a fair share in those profits.”
Major bargaining issues for the UAW include the closure of GM plants in the U.S., the use of temporary workers and a path to make them full time, as well as a faster track for getting newly hired workers to the top wage.
Unifor shares concern over the stability of good paying auto jobs and the treatment of workers, issues that will be raised when negotiations between GM and Unifor on behalf of Canadian autoworkers commence next year. Collective agreements between Unifor and General Motors will expire in September 2020 and September 2021.