General Motors workers in Oshawa, St. Catharines, and Woodstock have ratified their contract with company. But as Joe Scarpelli tell us, the fine print has some workers worried.
It was fitting that the GM Centre was the building selected to host the Oshawa autoworkers’ ratification vote. Some didn’t think they’d be here.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen to be honest. I thought we were going on strike.”
Troy O’Neill was one of the nearly 65 percent of GM workers who voted in favour of the contract.
“I’m ecstatic about it, I really am.”
Some aren’t sure what to make of deal but say it’s a lot better than a work stoppage.
Paul Gatens, 13 year GM employee” When you weigh those consequences out…no job or continue to receive a paycheck…you have to lean towards being happy to have a job.”
John Barriball, 12 year GM employee, “We got product and that’s number one…jobs.”
Many who turned out for the Sunday vote told us they were not happy with the deal.
The highlight of the contract is new product. Union officials say it will be the Chevy Silverado. The Oshawa plant will do final assembly on the truck after the bodies are shipped from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Many employees we spoke with expressed concern about the plan, but didn’t wish to appear on camera. They say with the plant building just half a truck, GM could stop this at any time.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias dismissed those concerns.
“Look, that’s been the argument that can be used now in any industry. The reality is that if a company is going to invest $400 million in an assembly plant, they are going to expect to get a return on their investment. So $400 million means we have a bright future here in Oshawa.”
The deal also includes a signing bonus of six thousand dollars, seven hundred temporary positions changing to full-time, a two per cent wage increase this year and another two per cent increase in 2019… the year many worried would be GMs last year in Oshawa.
Paul Dekoning 25 year GM employee, “Some of the employees might not be happy but if they look at the future it’s a lot more solid than it was yesterday.”