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AUTO PLANT: The 300 contract workers get benefits that other workers have

Cami workers vote for deal

Patrick Maloney

By Patrick Maloney, The London Free Press

Cami plant in Ingersoll (File photo)

Cami plant in Ingersoll (File photo)

The 2,500 workers at Ingersoll’s Cami assembly plant voted overwhelmingly Sunday to accept a new four-year deal that their union says bodes well for the plant’s future.

With 89% approval, the new pact gives union members a $3,000 signing bonus, a $2,000 annual payout until 2017 and also extends benefits and other full-time perks to roughly 300 people who had until now been contract workers.

“We should have over 300 families that should be extremely happy tonight, whose lives will improve tremendously,” said Mike Van Boekel, chairperson of Unifor Local 88.

So-called two-tier hirings — some unionized workers, others on contract — are “shredding” workplaces, he added. As of Sunday’s ratification, those 300-plus contract workers get benefits and a pension plan.

Cami workers earn $34 an hour, Van Boekel said.

Both the union and GM Canada, which owns Cami, have bridged a large divide in short order. Earlier this summer, the union declined to even go to the table because the sides were so far apart.

Also looming in the background of negotiations was a GM plant in Springhill, Tenn., that some feared could take production away from the higher paid workers here.

That threat is eased dramatically with this pact, Van Boekel said: “I’m extremely confident we’ll have a very solid relationship with GM going forward.”

(Unifor is a newly merged organization between the Canadian Auto Workers and Communications Energy Paperworkers unions. It also represents Free Press editorial staff.)

Van Boekel noted the Cami deal is the first big deal finalized since Unifor was formed.

patrick.maloney@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/patatLFPress


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