General Motors is now facing international labor strikes after failing to negotiate a tentative agreement with approximately 4,300 workers represented by the Canadian union Unifor. 

The Canadian autoworkers will join approximately 9,200 United Auto Workers members on strike at two GM assembly plants and 18 components and distribution facilities in the United States. The American strike began on September 15 and has since grown.

In addition to producing some V-6 and V-8 engines used in various vehicles, including the Chevrolet Equinox, the new strikes in the Canadian province of Ontario also affect a stamping facility that makes parts for multiple cars and trucks.

President of Unifor, Lana Payne, stated that GM “Continues to fall short on our pension demands, income supports for retired workers, and meaningful steps to transition temporary workers into permanent, full-time jobs.”

Unifor, representing 18,000 Canadian workers at the Detroit automakers, adopted a more traditional negotiation approach than its U.S. equivalent. The Canadian union is negotiating with each automaker independently and using a contract first made last month with Ford as a “pattern” for GM and Stellantis. Payne also said GM is “Stubbornly refusing to meet the pattern agreement.”

However, GM stated it is “disappointed” that a deal couldn’t be reached after “very positive progress on several key priorities over the past weeks.”

Since the work stoppages started, the UAW has gradually increased its strikes due to the parties’ failure to achieve tentative agreements by September 14. Instead of a nationwide walkout where all plants strike simultaneously, targeted strikes are occurring. 

Only 25,200 employees, or around 17% of UAW members with active contracts with Detroit automakers, are currently on strike. According to prior statements by UAW President Shawn Fain, the union will increase work stoppages depending on the progress of the negotiations.

However, thousands of other UAW members have lost their jobs due to the strikes, including roughly 2,175 workers at other GM facilities. Most notably, the Detroit automaker was forced to idle production of a Kansa assembly plant that produces Chevrolet Malibu sedans and Cadillac XT4 crossovers.

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