Unifor president says GM could face strike in Canada if trust is not restored

TORONTO — Autoworker union president Jerry Dias says the massive employee strike launched at General Motors in the U.S. today could migrate to Canada next year if trust is not restored.

Dias says workers in both countries feel “betrayed” by GM after plant cutbacks and closures on both sides of the border followed pledges to maintain operations.

The head of Unifor says strong earnings that included a US$8.1 billion net profit last year should translate into greater loyalty to employees and not layoffs.

GM Canada’s Oshawa plant will see the vast majority of its 2,600 unionized employees laid off this year, though initial plans to close it were adjusted to save about 300 of those jobs for a parts operation.

A collective agreement between Unifor and the auto giant is set to expire in September 2020.

More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers are now on strike against GM in the U.S., bringing more than 50 factories and parts warehouses to a standstill in the union’s first walkout against the no. 1 U.S. automaker in over a decade.

Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli says the Ontario government is concerned about the potential impact of the strike on GM’s Canadian operations and the supply chain that delivers auto parts to the company’s U.S. facilities.

The minister says he is in regular dialogue with GM Canada and is monitoring the situation closely.

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