GM UNIT Communication Report

April 5th  2017


Membership Communication – GM St. Catharines Members – Unifor Local 199

Subject: March 31 General Motors Business Review Meeting


Greetings sisters and brothers:

We write to provide an update on the GM Business Review Meeting that took place on March 31, 2017. The meeting involved high level officials from both General Motors and the Unifor National Union. This communication will focus on four key items:

  1. HFV6 – Third shift
  2. CAMI announcement – GMC Terrain
  3. Negotiated Investment
  4. Next Steps


Item #1

Information from General Motors. (What we were told)

  • The Company again stated they intend to re-instate the 3rd shift on the HFV6 line late in 2017.

Unifor’s position:

  • Although we were certainly pleased to hear the Company stated its commitment to re-instate the third shift, we are taking a very cautious approach. We are cautious for 2 main reasons:
  • 1) we have been receiving conflicting reports from local management versus GM officials from Detroit with respect to the operating plan for the return of the 3rd shift in HFV6;
  • The Local Leadership is working on a plan to nullify any layoffs before shutdown by increasing inventory in the short term. The Company will then use the excess inventory to cover the volume increases in the 3rd quarter to reduce the inventory.
  • 2) forecast volumes (provided at the review meeting) although meaningfully higher, remain below the 2016 production levels. We will continue to monitor this very closely and will request regular updates from General Motors.


Item #2

Information from General Motors (What we were told)

  • In the March 31 meeting, General Motors reaffirmed its plan to move 100% of the Terrain production from CAMI to a facility in Mexico. They also stated this would lead to a shift reduction in the GF6 transmission. GM went on to state the shift reduction would be “temporary”, with the shift returning at an unspecified later date.


Unifor’s position:

  • The Union is very sceptical about this information. Without clearly identified replacement work at this time, coupled with car production dropping as the market softens and Toledo losing volume, we simply don’t see this being a “temporary” situation.
  • On a positive note, we do understand that CAMI bargaining will potentially have an impact on our membership in St. Catharines. The entire Unifor leadership team (both National and Local leadership) support the efforts of the CAMI leadership to keep Terrain (or an alternative vehicle) production at CAMI. Same as item #1 above, we will continue to monitor this very closely and request regular updates from General Motors about the GF6 operating plan.
  • Finally, we will continue to work with and support the Local 88 (Cami) bargaining committee and National Union leadership in their bargaining process. Their success, may be our success


Item #3

Information from General Motors (What we were told)

The company reaffirmed its commitment to invest every penny of the $150 million negotiated for St Catharines.

Unifor’s position:

Although we were certainly pleased to finally see money being invested in our facility and the Company honoring its stated commitment to the investment, we are again taking a very cautious approach keeping in mind the nature of the business and the future demands for our products.


Item #4

Information from General Motors (What we were told)

There are opportunities for future product allocation due to our workforce, cost structure, quality, etc. for St Catharines.

Unifor’s position:

The Local Leadership in St Catharines is involved in discussions with the Company on future product allocation. We believe that with our workforce, cost structure and reputation as a great place to build, we will be successful in being allocated new product in the future.

We are also working with the Company to find new sources for our products and find imaginative ways to reduce or eliminate future layoffs.



Issued by,

Tim McKinnon, GM Unit Chairperson
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee
Brian Chemnitz, Paul Dortono, Doug Wark, Larry Burkley, John Rakich
UNIFOR Local 199