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General Motors reaches tentative agreement with Ontario CAMI plant workers on strike

Hundreds marched in solidarity with unionized workers on strike at General Motor's CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont.
Hundreds marched in solidarity with unionized workers on strike at General Motor's CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont. Jaclyn Carbone / AM980

General Motors says a tentative agreement has been reached with its striking workers at the company’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont.

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In a statement released by Unifor, details of the agreement will not be released until after they’ve been finalized. The statement also reads that union members are still required to report to their scheduled picket assignment until the agreement has been ratified.

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The company announced the agreement in an email Friday night, but didn’t provide any details because the workers still must vote on whether to accept it.

“It has been extremely tough, extremely frustrating. Many times it felt like you were running at 100 miles an hour to bang your head through a cement wall, but we got there. I believe our jobs our secure, which is the main thing. I would’ve liked some other things as well, but overall our plant is safe,” said Mike Van Boekel, Unifor Local 88 chair.

The plant, which includes almost 3,000 unionized workers, has been on strike for approximately four weeks.

READ MORE: Solidarity rally at CAMI Friday afternoon expected to draw thousands

In addition to bringing to light key issues such as job security, benefits and wages, Unifor wants GM to offer employees a guarantee about the plant’s future by making CAMI the primary producer of the Chevy Equinox.

GM also released a statement on the tentative agreement. “General Motors of Canada and our Unifor partners have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective agreement, on October 13, 2017. The agreement is subject to member ratification.”

READ MORE: Hundreds march in solidarity with CAMI autoworkers

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Hundreds of layoffs took place this year after GM moved the production of the GMC Terrain from CAMI to Mexico.

The agreement comes after GM told Unifor that it may move even more production to Mexico if the weeks-long strike didn’t end soon.

“That certainly got the tone of the talks going again. GM had to spend a lot of money to move the truck to Mexico. Obviously, if any corporation moves a vehicle or a business to a place that pays hardly anything in wages, it gets you behind the eight ball, but we were able to work our way through it, and I believe we’ve come out stronger. We’re okay, our jobs are good, our plant’s good,” said Van Boekel.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne issued a statement expressing hope that the tentative deal will end the strike, which she says has been felt throughout the province’s auto supply chain.

Ratification is set for Monday, October 16 at 10 a.m. at the Progress Building at the Western Fair District in London, Ont.

With a file from The Canadian Press.