With GM Canada and Detroit Three autoworkers union Unifor making little headway in contract negotiations, the possibility of government subsidies has raised its head.
At week’s finish, the two sides were reportedly far apart as the clock ticks down to feasible strike action at midnight on September 19. With Basic Motors as its strike target, Unifor lists new investment and item at the endangered Oshawa assembly plant as its number one particular demand.
According to the Detroit Free of charge Press, the Canadian workers’ union boss is encouraged by talk of indirect federal government intervention.
Citing an earlier report in the Globe and Mail, the publication reports that modifications could be on the way for Canada’s Automotive Innovation Fund, produced in 2008 to provide low-interest loans to automakers and suppliers.
Unifor president Jerry Dias told the Cost-free Press yesterday that the government has signaled to him its intention of switching the fund from a loan system to one particular that delivers grants.
“Do I believe that that will play a function and provide an help to us in our negotiations? The answer is yes,” Dias mentioned.
The possibility of direct government subsidies would certainly sweeten the pot for GM, though the government hasn’t officially declared its intentions, and time is running quick to avert a walkout at three Ontario facilities.
Earlier this week, GM’s Cami assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario pledged to assistance Unifor workers in the event of a strike. Cami builds Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers, and is covered by a diverse collective agreement. If GM workers stroll off the job after their contract expires, Cami’s Unifor Neighborhood 88 has pledged to not install replacement parts sent to them by U.S. factories.
Production at Cami would be hampered by the loss of components from GM Canada’s St. Catharines engine and transmission plant. Apart from St. Catharines and Oshawa Assembly, a components depot in Woodstock, Ontario would also be impacted by a strike.
Subsidies or no subsidies, the union’s objective of maintaining Oshawa alive hinges on new merchandise, and there appears to be no movement on that front. Following losing truck and Chevrolet Camaro production in current years, the plant’s two assembly lines are bleeding product. The plant handles overflow production of the Equinox, as properly as the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS — goods that can (and in some instances, will) be built elsewhere. Its Consolidation Line could depart subsequent year, with no guarantees that its Flex Line won’t do the identical by 2019.
Speaking to the Toronto Star this week, Kristin Dziczek, director of investigation at the independent Center for Automotive Investigation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said Unifor chose the right tack in seeking new item, but admits the predicament does not look great.
“There are no items hanging out there hunting for a property,” she said, referring to Oshawa.
Meanwhile, Dias stated he’s received assistance from Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers. The two have a mutual agreement to not undermine any strike action taken by the other — which means, in this case, that UAW will not agree to increase production at U.S. plants to make up for a loss of Canadian item.
[Image: General Motors Canada]