Home Business Canadian autoworkers ratify tentative agreement with GM

Canadian autoworkers ratify tentative agreement with GM

by Mark Mendoza

Canadian autoworkers represented by Unifor have voted to ratify a new three-year labor agreement with General Motors (GM). The agreement covers over 4,300 autoworkers at GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant, St. Catharines Powertrain Plant, and Woodstock Parts Distribution Center in Ontario, and will be in effect until September 20, 2026. Members voted to ratify the agreement with an overwhelming 80.5% majority.

Unifor National President Lana Payne expressed pride in the solidarity shown by the union members and praised the contract, stating that it contains “life-changing improvements.” Payne emphasized that the agreement reflects the true spirit of collective bargaining and aims to bring more fairness and equity to auto workplaces.

The tentative agreement between Unifor and GM was reached just a day after Unifor initiated a strike against the automaker. The strike lasted for a brief period as both parties were able to reach a satisfactory agreement in a short time frame.

The contract with GM closely follows the pattern agreement ratified with Ford Motor Co. earlier in September. It guarantees a compounded pay raise of nearly 20% for production workers and 25% for skilled trades over the three-year agreement. Additionally, it reinstates a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the first time since 2008 and provides retirees with a new quarterly Universal Health Allowance.

The agreement also includes provisions to convert hundreds of temporary part-time autoworkers at the three GM facilities into permanent full-time positions by August 1, 2026. This conversion will be followed by the elimination of full-time temporary positions within the company. Unifor’s GM Master Bargaining Chair, Jason Gale, lauded this aspect of the agreement, stating that it will put an end to the abuse of the temporary worker program.

Moreover, the contract reduces the wage progression grid from eight to four years, enabling workers to reach the top rate of pay in half the time. According to Unifor, workers with one to two years of seniority can expect to see their hourly pay increase by up to 73% during the three-year agreement.

GM Canada President and Managing Director Marissa West commended Unifor and its members for their determination and cooperation throughout the negotiations. West assured autoworkers that GM is committed to their involvement in the transition to electric vehicles and the future of the auto industry. She acknowledged the challenging nature of labor negotiations but expressed confidence in the achievements made through collaboration.

The ratification of this contract comes more than a month after the United Auto Workers (UAW), Unifor’s U.S. counterpart, initiated a strike against targeted plants of the Detroit Three automakers, including GM. The strike has since expanded three times, leaving thousands of UAW autoworker members waiting for resolution. However, the Canadian autoworkers represented by Unifor can now move forward with improved wages, benefits, job security, and a sense of accomplishment.

related posts