Ingersoll factory workers at CAMI Automotive are readying their picket signs as a strike is on.
A panel was held at the London Convention Centre on Sunday, where Unifor Local 88 officials explained the current situation to CAMI employees.
Unifor Local 88 and General Motors were hopeful a tentative agreement could be reached, but neither side was able to come to an agreement.
“We built the Terrain and the Equinox, and they moved the Terrain to Mexico despite being number one in quality and having massive sales, so part of our are to [ensure] the Equinox stays in Ingersoll, but General Motors is not interested in that whatsoever,” says Unifor Local 88 chair Mike Van Boekel.
“We’ve gone back and forth on a few different proposals over the course of these few weeks, but quite honestly, we are light years apart from each other in terms of reaching an agreement.”
Van Boekel says while it is disappointing that the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement, the current situation isn’t completely hopeless.
“I believe that talks can change very quickly, and if we reach an agreement sometime during the week, we will send our workers back out the next day, and have a review with all the members on a Sunday to see if the workers are in favour of the contract. If its unsatisfactory, the agreement will be terminated immediately,”
Van Boekel adds that due to the high quality of production and strong numbers at the CAMI Ingersoll plant, General Motors will likely want to reach an agreement instead of moving the plant out of Canada.
Workers’ spirits were down due to the uncertainty of their current situation on Sunday, but the 2,500 workers who filled the convention centre stood in solidarity with their local’s bargaining team.
“To get a standing ovation before the meeting starts, it is absolutely fantastic,” said Van Boekel.
“It sends chills down your back knowing that these workers appreciate the hard work we have done and have faith in us to get what’s best for them.”
Van Boekel adds that while the workers are picketing, Unifor Local 88’s bargaining team will be working tirelessly to reach a tentative agreement with General Motors as soon as possible.