General Motors of Canada Ltd. rewards Canadian workers with a C$800 million ($507 million) investment that could firmly establish their role in the auto maker's future product pipeline.
Production of a crew-cab, short-box pickup is promised to GM's truck assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., as part of the 3-year agreement reached between the company and union following 12 days of intense bargaining.
And the half-ton pickup, while shouldered by an existing platform, is a new product for GM, a company spokesman tells Ward's. It will feature the same wheelbase as the extended-cab pickup currently assembled at Oshawa, but the truck's interior space has some innovative design features, the spokesman says without elaborating.
In addition, GM workers in St. Catharines, Ont., will be involved in production of a transmission gear set for “a future new model,” the auto maker says. Expect this vehicle to make an appearance in late 2005 or early 2006, the agreement suggests.
Transmission assembly is not spoken for, but the union is hopeful it could go to its members at a Windsor, Ont., plant.
The deal also sees GM complete a 405,000-sq.-ft. (37,625-sq.-m.) paint shop at its car assembly plant in Oshawa. This could pave the way for development of the next-generation Buick Regal, because GM agrees to designate Oshawa Car as “the early lead plant.”
The deal, which establishes the pattern for Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. and DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc., calls for a $1,000 signing bonus and an 8% wage hike — 3% during the first two years and 2% in the final year. GM Canada employees also can take off up to 11 weeks of paid vacation.
One feature that won't be part of the pattern is a “neutrality” letter from GM that the union could use in its drive to organize non-union parts suppliers — some of whom are “viciously anti-union,” says CAW President Buzz Hargrove.
With the rest of the deal in hand and GM balking at the neutrality clause, the CAW abandoned that demand five hours before the midnight Sept. 17 strike deadline. GM and the CAW also will continue to discuss ways to revive the former Camaro/Firebird assembly plant in Ste. Therese, Que.