Ingersoll's CAMI plant employees on strike

Workers there went on strike late Sunday after union and company negotiators failed to reach agreement on a new contract.

When an agreement wasn't reached by the 10:59 p.m. deadline Sunday, workers at the automotive plant walked off the job.

Speaking from the picket line on Monday, Unifor Local 88 plant chair Mike Van Boekel said workers are looking for a guarantee that production of the Equinox crossover vehicle will not be shifted to another plant.

The Chevrolet Equinox is the only vehicle now being produced at CAMI.

In July, GM stopped production of its Terrain sport utility vehicle model in Ingersoll, and 100 per cent of the volume was moved to Mexico, resulting in the layoffs.

Nearly 3,000 workers at a GM manufacturing plant in Ontario walked off the job on Sunday over concerns about the future of their jobs. GM has the ability to produce the Equinox at two of its Mexico plants as well, but thus far those plants have churned out less than 1-percent of total Equinox output this year.

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Top among the negotiations was job security, Automotive News reports, as GM laid off 600 workers at CAMI earlier this year amid a shift to Mexico production for the GMC Terrain, an Equinox platform sibling. It also previously made the Terrain, but production of that is now taking place in Mexico. "We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement", GM said.

Dias said GM's refusal to commit long term to the plant is a decision that stems directly from the North American Free Trade Agreement. The company said that in 2015 it invested 800 million Canadian dollars ($656 million U.S.) in the plant to build the new Equinox.

Inventories of the newly redesigned Equinox 5-passenger CUV closed August with a 61-days' supply, compared with 57 year-ago, according to WardsAuto data.

Equinox sales so far this year are up 16.9% to 28,245 from 23,524 in the same period last year amid a seemingly insatiable appetite from USA buyers craving the car-like ride and SUV-like styling and cargo room CUVs provide.

The strike couldn't come at worse time for GM. Take note: Workers are on strike at the assembly plant that reportedly builds the lion's share of them. Though a small number are made in Mexico, the vast majority are built at CAMI plant and is the only model the plant now builds.


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