Last Sunday night, workers at General Motors' CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario went on strike due to the automaker and Unifor Local 88 being unable to reach a tentative agreement. The plant where the majority of the Chevrolet Equinoxes are built has been shut down since. Now the side effects are the strike are beginning to be felt.
At least 255 workers at GM's St. Catharines, Ontario plant have been given temporary layoff notices that begin tomorrow. St. Catharines is where the transmissions for the Equinox are built. According to Automotive News, workers spent the week stockpiling transmissions.
"We supply about 90 per cent of (CAMI's) transmissions, so it's related to that. Even though they were down, we ran all week ... We have a lot of transmissions stockpiled now because we didn't know if they were going to resolve it this week or not. It doesn't look like they're going to," said Tim McKinnon, chairman of Unifor Local 199 that represents St. Catharines.
“We’re off until they get it settled. Every time they sneeze, we catch a cold. If they pick up more volume, we pick up more volume.”
GM announced late last week that it is making production adjustments at St. Catharines, Spring Hill, and Flint Engine Operations. Both Spring Hill and Flint provide the engines for the Equinox. Also last week, Canadian supplier Magna International said it would suspend the supply of parts.
The top concerns for the two sides are very different. For GM, it is the worry of having enough supply of Equnoxes for the demand. Sales rose 85 percent year-over-year in August. While GM does also build the Equinox in San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the two plants cannot match the output of CAMI (40,017 for the Mexican plants vs. 132,288 for CAMI). For Unifor, they want assurances that CAMI will remain the lead plant for the Equinox and want another product for the plant to build.
Unifor has reached out to GM on Wednesday on possibly restarting negotiations. At this time, no word on whether two have or will meet.