Canadian autoworkers union targets GM in contract talks

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Montreal (AFP)

The Canadian autoworkers union announced Tuesday it will target General Motors in contract negotiations, with the outcome to be used as a template for deals with Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

If the two sides fail to agree on a new labor agreement, which Unifor has said must include new investments in Canadian assembly plants, the union could call a strike against GM on September 19.

Unifor believes that new investments by the Big Three automakers -- all of which have heavily invested in new factories in Mexico during the last decade and refurbished plants in the United States -- is crucial to plug a bleeding of jobs from Canada to its southern neighbors.

It said Canadian auto assembly has fallen from 25 percent of all vehicles produced in North America in 2009 to 15 percent.

The union specifically wants a guarantee that GM will build new products at the company's assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

One assembly line at the plant is scheduled to close next year and GM has not yet slotted any new vehicles on its other line beyond 2019.

The Oshawa plant already shed 1,000 jobs last year when GM moved production of its Camaro to Lansing, Michigan.

A strike would impact production of the Chevy Impala and Equinox, the Buick Regal, the Cadillac XTS and the GMC Terrain, as well as engines, transmissions and other auto parts which supply nine US plants.