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Economy

700 hundred workers temporarily laid off at GM in St. Catharines

A number of employees received temporary layoff notices on Friday at the GM plant in St Catharines. .
A number of employees received temporary layoff notices on Friday at the GM plant in St Catharines. . Google Maps

Close to 700 workers at General Motors‘ Propulsion Plant in St. Catharines have been laid off due to a strike by U.S. workers which has impacted supply lines for the auto manufacturer in Canada.

Unifor Local 199 said management at the Glendale plant, which employs about 1,100 union workers, told them Thursday that layoff notices would be handed out on Friday.

The layoffs take effect on Monday and are expected to shut down engine lines.

READ MORE: GM says all vehicle production halted at Oshawa assembly plant

Tim McKinnon, Unifor’s unit chairman for Local 199, says the issue is with parts sourced from the U.S. for the V8 and V6 engines manufactured at the facility.

“Right now it’s centred around the V8 and V6, with the V8 going down a couple of days ago,” McKinnon told Global News. “We found some temporary work for them to get through the week, the V6 will go down afternoon today (Friday).”

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McKinnon says close to 450 workers will remain working the transmission line in St. Catharines.

“The transmission that we supplied to Ingersoll at the CAMI plant will run all of next week, and then what happens beyond that is anybody’s guess,” said McKinnon.

“Theoretically within the next week or so, the entire plant could be down.”

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McKinnon says those temporarily laid off will be able to access unemployment insurance, which would pay out about 50 per cent of their regular wage.

Those with the company for six or more years will see a top-up to 65 per cent of their wages through a supplemental plan negotiated with GM years ago.

READ MORE: GM Canada temporarily lays off 1,200 employees as U.S. strike continues

In a statement to Global News, GM Canada said workers at a number of Ontario plants were affected when 49,000 union employees in the United States walked off the job across a number of facilities.

General Motors halted vehicle production at its assembly plant in Oshawa on Friday as a result of a strike by the United Auto Workers union.

“We can confirm that stamping operations in Oshawa and production at GM Canada’s operations in Ingersoll and St. Catharines continue today but we have seen disruption of our vehicle assembly work at the Oshawa Assembly Plant due to the UAW strike,” said Jacqueline Thomson Senior Manager, Corporate and Internal Communications for GM.

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“We plan to resume these operations as quickly as possible upon resolution of the UAW strike.”

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The United Auto Workers said in an update on Thursday that “some progress has been made” in talks with the auto manufacturer although many issues “remain unresolved.”

Job security, shares in profits, health care and seniority for temporary members are segments of the collective agreement with GM the UAW are hoping to improve.

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