Hourly workers at Magna International Inc.’s Integram vehicle seating plant near Windsor on Monday voted overwhelmingly to ratify a second “new” tentative agreement, just hours after a 15-hour strike ended.
The short-lived strike threatened to disrupt production at General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plants in Canada. It was spurred after Integram workers on Sunday voted down a first tentative agreement.
Unifor Local 444 said on Twitter on Monday that 86.1 percent of its members voted to ratify the new agreement.
Dino Chiodo, president of Unifor Local 444, said the second deal included the same 7.25 percent wage increase over four years, but had a higher lump-sum payment of CA$3,500 vs. CA$1,000 in the first deal; it completely eliminates a benefit co-pay for new hires.
Chiodo said the contract, though, will lead to job losses of at least 60-80 employees who do foam work for GM, likely over the next six months. He said it’s possible another 125 jobs for work done for Fiat Chrysler may be at stake as the company analyzes its continued business case in the area given its new, higher labor costs.
“As a labor leader, you never want to give up jobs to pay for a collective agreement,” he said.
But members wanted the union to push for more on the wage side even though the foam business could be in jeopardy, Chiodo said.
Canadian autoworkers union Unifor on Sunday said 57.9 percent of union workers at the facility had rejected a tentative agreement reached last week between union leaders and the auto supplier. Members went on strike Sunday.
Chiodo said after the new agreement was reached, workers stopped picketing and three trucks filled with parts left for GM’s CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.
“Once we put the tentative agreement together we agreed to move some parts to the CAMI facility to keep operations going,” he said.
The facility’s just more than 1,000 employees in Tecumseh, Ontario, produce foam and seats for CAMI Assembly and Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly plant, which builds the popular Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica minivans.
Chiodo said a work stoppage would have impacted production at CAMI by about 10 a.m. Monday. The plant builds the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain crossovers.
A Magna spokeswoman confirmed a tentative agreement had been reached and some factory employees have returned to work to handle GM foam production business, though the majority of the plant is idled due to an unrelated issue. The spokeswoman did not have details on the new agreement.
A GM spokesman declined to comment Monday.
Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosselin said there was no impact at Windsor Assembly. The company already planned to idle the plant through this week due to a parts shortage caused by a fire at a Magneti Marelli warehouse in Tennessee. Workers are to return to work Nov. 14.