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GM’s Canadian Workers Are Striking to Stop More Jobs Going to Mexico

Workers at General Motors’ CAMI auto assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, walked out on strike late Sunday after the labor union Unifor failed to reach a tentative agreement with the automaker.

The union had been trying to persuade GM to designate the plant as the lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV, bolstering job security after GM stopped production of the Terrain SUV model in Ingersoll in July. That led to 600 layoffs as GM shifted production of the Terrain to Mexico.

CAMI now only produces the Equinox, and shares that role with another GM plant in Mexico.

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The union had blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement and Mexico’s cheaper labor costs for the job losses, which it called unjustified given strong sales of the Equinox and Terrain.

“Every member understands the importance of reaching a deal that secures production, and what that means to our families and the community,” said Mike Van Boekel, Local 88 Chair at the CAMI plant.

Securing jobs was the key to a collective agreement to replace the one expiring in September between GM and its 2,800 CAMI workers, said Unifor president Jerry Dias in February.

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General Motors said it was disappointed that it was not able to complete a new agreement.

“We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement,” GM Canada said in a statement.