The news isn't getting any better at General Motors' CAMI plant where workers have been on strike for a month after the automaker and Canadian union Unifor were unable to reach an agreement. Already, the strike has caused GM to make adjustments and idle some of their plants in North America, and there are concerns about the shrinking stock of Chevrolet Equinoxes.
But now the stakes have been raised. According to Reuters and Automotive News, General Motors issued a warning to leaders at Unifor that it will start winding down production of the Equinox at CAMI unless the strike is called off. Unifor leader Jerry Dias was told by GM officials that the automaker would begin ramping up Equinox production at the San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico plants if the strike was not called off.
"GM just told us today that they are going to ramp up production in Mexico. They have declared war on Canada," Diaz told Reuters.
GM had no immediate comment on Dias' statement when reached by Reuters.
According to a source at GM, the discussions between them and Unifor have been going nowhere and there is "a high degree of frustration." Because of this, GM is planning to study how quickly key suppliers for the Equinox could move their operations down to Mexico. No final decision on CAMI's fate has been decided according to the source, but the time frame for getting a deal done is narrowing.
Mexico has been the dividing point between GM and Unifor. The union objected to GM's decision to lay off 600 workers at CAMI when it moved production of the GMC Terrain to Mexico. Unifor wants CAMI to be the lead plant for Equinox production by "giving it more production if Equinox sales rise and making it the last to scale back production if sales fall." But GM has invested $800 million into the plant for retooling to build the new Equinox. The automaker believes this should be enough commitment and putting it into writing isn't necessary. According to the source, there is no such language in any of the other union contracts.
The strike has gotten so bad that the Government of Ontario has stepped in, urging both groups to resolve this rift.
“I feel like we’re engaged in a poker game, but the interests of Ontario are sitting on the table right now,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario's Economic Development Minister.
“It’s an uncomfortable place to be, obviously, and we’d really like to urge the parties to find a resolution to this as quickly as possible before permanent damage is done.”