File photo of General Motors headquarters in Detroit courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / duha127File photo of General Motors headquarters in Detroit courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / duha127

Unifor picks GM as its next strike target

Fresh off its negotiations with Ford Canada, Unifor has chosen its next strike target.

The union announced that it will target General Motors as contract talks continue. National President Lana Payne announced Monday afternoon that she had directed GM's bargaining leaders to start their talks tomorrow.

Payne said GM was picked because the union has what she called "negotiating leverage" with the Detroit-based automaker.

"I want to be clear. Our expectation is that General Motors will follow the pattern that's been set at Ford," said Payne. "Their Oshawa facility is working around the clock producing very lucrative pickup trucks. The St. Catharines engine and transmission facility, like Ford's powertrain operations, is a lynchpin for GM's North American operations."

Payne also cited the Woodstock distribution operation as a component of GM's vital parts network.

In a statement Monday afternoon, GM Canada welcomed the opportunity to get to work in the bargaining room.

"We look forward to working with our Unifor partners to build a competitive future that also recognizes our employees’ contributions to our shared success," read a short statement from the automaker.

The previous contract had expired at midnight on September 18, but Unifor had agreed to extend its contract deadlines with GM and Stellantis while it wrapped up talks with Ford.

Ford Canada's union-represented employees ratified a new three-year deal over the weekend, with 54 per cent voting yes. The deal included general wage increases in each year of the agreement, with a 10 per cent increase in year one effective immediately, a two per cent increase in 2024, and a two per cent increase in 2025. Employees will also get a $10,000 signing bonus.

---with files from Maureen Revait

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