As contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and Detroit's Big Three drag on, the situation for some automakers is getting worse in other regions. At midnight last night, about 4,280 autoworkers represented by the Canadian union Unifor walked off the job at three General Motors Canada facilities after the two sides failed to work out a deal. This figure is in addition to the roughly 25,000 autoworkers in the United States who are currently on strike across GM, Stellantis, and Ford facilities.
Unifor states it was unable to reach a deal with GM because "the company continues to fall short on our pension demands, income supports for retired workers, and meaningful steps to transition temporary workers into permanent, full-time jobs." The three facilities affected are the Oshawa Assembly Complex and CCA Stamped Products, where Silverado pickups are made; Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre; and St. Catharines Powertrain Plant, which makes engines for a variety of models, including the Corvette. For its part, GM says it provided a "record economic offer that recognizes the many contributions of our represented team members–past, present, and future." It claims the strike is simply a result of a few "final outstanding items" which have yet to be resolved.
The news comes after Ford was able to strike a deal with Unifor in late September. The Blue Oval employs 5,600 union autoworkers in Canada, with the new three-year deal approved by 54% of the membership.
As strikes expand, layoffs are widespread within the Big Three. Ford, GM, and Stellantis have furloughed thousands of non-union employees since work stoppages began. Ford alone claims to have over 7,900 employees currently striking stateside, which has resulted in 1,865 layoffs due to the "highly interconnected" nature of the company's business.
Major automakers also aren't the only ones feeling the heat. UAW workers turned down Mack Truck's contract offer on Monday. Some 4,000 workers in three states are currently on strike as a result. According to Automotive News, the heavy truck builder's offer included "a 19 percent pay hike, a $3,500 ratification bonus, improved retirement benefits, additional vacation for some employees and a reduction in the time needed to get to top pay." However, the UAW cited remaining concerns over wage progression, job security, and cost-of-living allowance. The company's offer was rejected by 73% of union members.
Progress is seemingly being made between the UAW and the Big Three, despite Mack and Unifor workers' latest actions. The inclusion of new battery plants in GM's offer to the UAW has resulted in no additional strike expansion, at least for the time being. Strike numbers have also flatlined at Ford, where UAW president Shawn Fain likewise says progress has been made. It seems like a deal between union members and at least one of Detroit's automakers could be on the horizon. If it is, others could follow.
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