GM to build commercial electric van in Canada, but where will Equinox production go?

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Unifor successfully negotiated new contracts last year with all of the Detroit 3 automakers with overwhelming support by the rank-and-file during ratification votes.

“We have always been at the table to support Canadian auto workers across the entire supply chain,” Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s new Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said in a statement. “Should Unifor members choose to ratify the agreement, our government is ready to work with General Motors of Canada to confirm our support and to quickly get this investment to the finish line.”

The company said work would begin immediately to transform the CAMI plant in Ingersoll.

“This will support jobs and transform work at the plant over the next two years from Chevrolet Equinox production to a new focus on the production of EV600s, to serve the growing North American market for electric delivery solutions,” GM Canada said.

GM’s BrightDrop brand will offer electric products, software and services, GM said Tuesday. Its products will include a commercial van known as the EV600 and an electric pallet called the EP1, which allows delivery drivers to more easily transport goods from the vehicle to customers’ doors.

In its own statement, Unifor said more details about the tentative agreement will be presented to Unifor Local 88 members at an online ratification meeting scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17. Results of the ratification vote are scheduled to be released Monday, Jan. 18.

A Unifor spokesperson said contract talks were originally scheduled for September of this year, but the two sides “mutually agreed” to move them to Jan. 4. The spokesperson said it was not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but no further explanation was offered.

“This tentative deal delivers significant investment, new products, new jobs, and job security, achieving our union’s key bargaining priorities during these challenging times,” Unifor President Jerry Dias said in a statement.

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Saurabh Shukla

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