Unifor negotiations started Wednesday in Toronto with GM and GM Oshawa workers gather outside the Sheraton Centre demanding GM commit investment to Oshawa.
“Very far apart…”
Unifor 222 president Colin James says the union and GM are miles apart when it comes to the key issues at the bargaining table.
“For us it is about a future for our junior members in the plant having jobs years down the road and we are looking for product investment and a commitment from the company when they are in trouble.”
James has been working for GM for over 30 years and says the trust factor between GM and their employees is not a strong bond.
“I think we all remember 2008 with the closing of the truck plant we had a commitment that we would have a truck, two weeks later they announced the closing of the truck plant. So that bond of trust… it’s hard.”
In Oshawa it is hard to miss the influence GM has in the city from murals in downtown Oshawa to the name plastered across the arena that hosts concerts and the beloved Oshawa Generals.
“The government isn’t doing enough to keep GM here we are not going to have a GM it’s not going to be the motor city anymore.”
Wednesday was the opening talks between the Unifor and GM but the real discussion on key issues will start Monday.
“We hope we do not have strike action I think we are all pretty optimistic however at 12 o’clock midnight if we don’t have some sort of commitment to product, we have to do what we have to do for the future of our members.”
Unifor kicked off bargaining with the remaining Detroit Three: Ford and Chrysler Fiat in Toronto on Thursday.