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Unifor, GM reach deal

Last minute agreement sees new product, jobs coming to Oshawa; ratification vote on Sunday

Unifor and General Motors have reached a tentative deal that will keep car production alive and well in Oshawa. The new deal will see new investments made in the plant. The deal is up for a ratification vote this weekend.

Unifor and General Motors have reached a tentative deal that will keep car production alive and well in Oshawa. The new deal will see new investments made in the plant. The deal is up for a ratification vote this weekend.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Autoworkers concerned about the future of the Oshawa Assembly can now breath a sigh of relief.

With negotiations reaching past the midnight deadline, Unifor and General Motors were able to reach a tentative deal for a new contract that will see new product and jobs come to Oshawa.

“This framework puts into motion what will be a historic agreement to secure a future for our members, for our communities and for the auto industry in Canada,” states Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president, in a news release.

“At this late hour we have language in place to address our bargaining priorities and there will be no strike.”

In a late night media briefing, Dias laid out the basic details of what will be coming to Oshawa. The biggest news, perhaps, was that there will be new product coming to the plant through “hundreds of millions in investment.” While the details of the new vehicle or vehicles was not disclosed – Dias says he wants to share it with union members first – he did say that the Oshawa plant will be the “first and only plant in North America that will have the ability to build both cars and trucks.” And with the new product comes jobs, with plans to hire in both the short and long term.

The new deal also sees those with temporary employment at the plant being shifted to full-time.

One thing that could not be saved in the negotiations was the consolidated line, which Dias says will shut down once production of the current generation of the Chevrolet Equinox wraps up. However, he adds that there will be no job losses as a result of the closure.

“Not bad, eh?” he quipped in the media briefing when disclosing the news.

The new deal was not just good news for Oshawa, with some engine work from Mexico being shifted to the St. Catharines plant and investment for the parts plant in Woodstock.

In a news release issued shortly after the Unifor news conference, General Motors says it will be “working with the government on potential support, and will provide further details on the investment at the appropriate time.”

The tentative deal is set to go to union members for a ratification vote on Sunday.