TORONTO -- Around-the-clock negotiations between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor continue today as Monday’s strike deadline looms.
Unifor President Jerry Dias in recent days has signaled to media outlets including Automotive News that the union and GM remain divided on product commitments at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant and at the St. Catharines, Ontario, engine and transmission plant.
Unifor’s four-year contract with GM expires on Monday at 11:59 p.m. Talks between the two parties are scheduled to go “around the clock" until then, a Unifor spokeswoman said in an update emailed to reporters.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement by Monday’s deadline, Unifor will be in a strike position. About 4,000 GM hourly workers could walk out beginning Tuesday. Workers at the automaker’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are not included in this year’s negotiations and cannot strike.
Dias has repeatedly said Unifor’s top priority in talks with GM is to secure product commitments at its facilities, particularly at Oshawa. The Oshawa plant, which employs about 2,400 hourly workers, has no products slated for it beyond 2019, and GM executives have previously said the company would not discuss future commitments until after negotiations conclude.
Unifor has painted this set of negotiations as critical to the future of auto manufacturing in Canada, which has been shedding vehicle manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century as automakers largely invest in Mexico and the U.S. instead.
Should contract talks continue into tomorrow, Unifor has scheduled several “media briefings” at a downtown Toronto hotel where negotiations are taking place.
A potential deal with GM will set the pattern for subsequent contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Unifor spokeswoman Denise Hammond said in an email that “formal extensions” were reached with Ford and FCA, meaning workers at the two companies would not be in a legal strike position come Tuesday morning.
A GM spokesman had no comment beyond the company's existing statement on the talks: "At GM Canada we remain focused on working with Unifor to reach a mutually beneficial and competitive new agreement.”