TORONTO – Unifor president Jerry Dias says securing hundreds of millions of dollars of investment from General Motors in its Canadian operations was worth the trade-off that the union made on pensions for new hires.
The union, which represents about 3,900 workers at GM plants in Ontario, reached a tentative agreement overnight with the automaker, averting a possible strike.
If ratified, the four-year deal – which includes wage increases, signing bonuses and lump sum payments – will see new hires start with a defined contribution pension plan, rather than the hybrid plan for current employees.
Dias says the concession was well worth it in order to secure investments in GM’s facilities in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock.
There had been fears that the Oshawa facility would shut down in 2019, but Dias says the contract ensures that won’t happen.
The settlement would also see some production moving from Mexico to its engine plant in St. Catharines, reversing an exodus of jobs to that country.
“Frankly, we created history,” Dias said in an interview Tuesday.
“This is the first time that we are seeing not only a solidifying of the footprint, but real opportunities for growth. So I’m thrilled.”