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Canadian union sets deadline in GM contract negotiations

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Sept. 28, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Sept. 28, 2023 02:12

(CBS DETROIT) - Unifor announced it has set a deadline for contract negotiations with General Motors in Canada.

The union, which represents about 4,300 workers at three GM facilities in Canada, said the automaker has until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 9 to reach an agreement, according to a letter on its website. 

Unifor says negotiations with GM are underway to secure a tentative agreement that follows the deal set with Ford earlier this month.

"Your bargaining committees are now focused on locking in the pattern agreement at General Motors. All of the significant increases to pensions, wages, health benefits, and more must now be bargained with the company," read the letter. "The gains negotiated in the pattern include the best wage package ever negotiated in the union's history, as well as reducing the grow-in from 8 years to 4 years, a $10,000 productivity and quality bonus for full-time employees and a $4,000 bonus for TPTs."

This comes after the union ratified a new three-year agreement with Ford of Canada, hours before members were set to go on strike. Unifor was ready to go on strike on Monday, Sept. 18, until an 11th-hour offer from Ford led to a 24-hour extension of its union contract and an extra day of negotiations that reached the deal.

The new deal raises base hourly pay for production workers by almost 20% over three years and by more than 25% for trade workers. It also gives permanent workers a $10,000 bonus and adds a cost-of-living adjustment.

Earlier this week, Unifor announced that its next target was going to be GM.

So far, the union has avoided going on strike against Detroit's three big automakers, compared to the U.S., where the United Auto Workers has been on strike since Sept. 15 after not reaching an agreement with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis.

UAW President Shawn Fain initially called on one plant from each automaker to strike. The strike expanded on Sept. 22 to a total of 41 locations. The expansion excluded Ford, as Fain said they had made serious progress in negotiations. 

Fain is set to make another announcement at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29.

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