GM deal promises new vehicle for Oshawa plant – by Vanessa Lu (Toronto Star – September 21, 2016)

Autoworkers at General Motors are breathing a sigh of a relief that the company has made new product commitments for Oshawa and St. Catharines, hoping it begins the turnaround for the Canadian auto industry.

As part of the deal reached late Monday between the automaker and Unifor, GM is also reversing a trend where automakers have been moving manufacturing to Mexico and the southern U.S. to cut costs. Monday’s deal includes a promise to move some engine production from Mexico to St. Catharines.

“We can really say that the tide is changing,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president, in an interview Tuesday. “I think it’s fair to say we have hit home runs all over the place.” The union said it won wage increases for workers, a higher start rate for new hires and a signing bonus. Ratification votes for almost 4,000 workers are scheduled for Sunday.

“We have locked in the vehicles in the collective agreement. They are not going anywhere,” said Dias, who vowed not to make mistakes of the past, where they signed deals and then GM later closed the truck assembly plant in Oshawa and moved Camaro production to Michigan.

The tentative deal, reached just before the Monday midnight deadline, ensures a new vehicle for the flex line at the Oshawa assembly plant, which had no commitment beyond 2019. It currently builds the Buick Regal, Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS.

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