Oct 10 (Reuters) – About 4,300 unionized workers went on strike at three General Motors Co plants in Canada on Tuesday, threatening the largest U.S. automaker’s profitable full-size truck production.
Unifor said it would go on strike at GM’s Oshawa assembly complex, St. Catharines power plant and Woodstock parts distribution center, all in Ontario.
GM is now facing a potential production outage, depending on the length of the strike, as workers at the St. Catharines plant make engines for a variety of vehicles, transmissions for the Chevrolet Equinox and Corvette, as well as engine component parts.
At the Oshawa plant, workers build Chevrolet Silverado trucks, one of GM’s most profitable models, while the plant’s stamping operations supply various parts to GM North America.
GM did not immediately say Tuesday when it expected disruptions from the Canadian strike to affect U.S. auto production.
The impact was likely broader in St. Catharines, Wells Fargo said in a research note, noting that “the majority of GM’s large SUVs and full-size pickup trucks use V8 engines. About half of standard full-size pickups also use V8 engines.” . “Engines, so engine options in these vehicles may be limited if the strike continues.”
Wells Fargo noted that Oshawa is the smallest of GM’s pickup plants, producing about 2,800 trucks per week. GM shares rose 1.7% on Tuesday.
The workers’ strike came after the Canadian union Unifor He said GM was “stubbornly refusing” to match the contract the labor union reached with Ford Motor Co. (FN), which offered wage increases of up to 25% in Canada.
“The company continues to fall short of our demands for pensions, income support for retired workers, and steps to move temporary workers into permanent, full-time jobs,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said.
Members at CAMI’s assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are not on strike because they are covered by a separate agreement.
GM said it would continue talks with Unifor. The strike adds to the headache the US automaker is facing as it suffers millions of dollars in daily losses due to the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike that began on September 15.
GM has lost 34,176 of its production vehicles since the UAW strike began, according to a Deutsche Bank estimate. The automaker said last week that it had 442,586 vehicles in inventory.
The UAW has struck two General Motors assembly plants in the United States and 18 parts distribution centers. General Motors laid off 2,300 American workers due to the effects of the UAW strike.
Unifor used a “bargaining mode” approach in its talks, first reaching an agreement with Ford and then expecting GM and Stellantis (STLAM.MI) to match. The UAW, on the other hand, broke away from this approach under its new leadership.
Unifor represents about 18,000 Canadian workers at Stellantis, the parent company of Ford, GM and Chrysler.
Unions have increasingly resorted to strikes in various sectors, from airlines to automakers, supported by a tight labor market and positive public opinion in the United States, despite declining union membership.
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(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwari and Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru and David Shepherdson in Washington) Editing by Mark Potter and Matthew Lewis
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