Unifor approves $1 billion GM deal to build electric vans in Ontario
Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, and work will begin immediately to ready the plant in Ingersoll for van production to begin in November.
Members of trade union Unifor have voted to approve General Motors Canada’s plan to invest $1 billion in an electric vehicle plant in Ingersoll, Ont.
As reported The Canadian Press and other news outlets, the union’s 1,900 Local 88 members voted online on Jan. 17 on a tentative deal with the automaker to transform GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., into a hub for producing electric commercial delivery vans.
The union said members voted about 91 per cent in favour of the deal and that work will begin immediately to ready the plant to begin van production in November.
“The stakes going into these negotiations were high with the (Chevrolet) Equinox program ending, and there wasn’t a time during these difficult negotiations that we were not thinking about our members and their families,” said a statement by Mike Van Boekel, chair of Unifor’s master bargaining committee.
In a Jan. 18 statement, Unifor national president Jerry Dias credited the deal to hard work by the local bargaining unit and collaboration with the Ontario and federal governments despite complications due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To achieve this level of commitment for auto manufacturing shows what can happen when we have a collective vision to secure this sector and create good jobs for Canadians,” Dias said.
GM’s Ingersoll plant is now scheduled to start producing the company’s “first-to-last-mile” electric light commercial vehicle, the EV600, with FedEx Express having signed up to be its first customer. Work to convert the Ingersoll assembly plant to EV production will begin immediately per Unifor. The plant currently produces the Chevrolet Equinox, which is being phased out in 2023. GM says it expects to deliver the first of its electric delivery vans to customers by the end of the year.