Canadian autoworkers union Unifor ratifies GM labor deal

FILE PHOTO: Unifor workers picket an entrance to the GM's Oshawa assembly complex

(Reuters) - Canadian labor union Unifor on Sunday said its members had voted in favor of a contract with General Motors, a relief for the automaker as it also faces a larger strike by hourly workers in the United States.

The Canadian union, which represents about 4,300 workers at GM in these talks, said 80.5% of its members at facilities in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock voted in favor of the deal.

The union reached a tentative agreement with the company last week, about 12 hours after workers went on strike at three GM facilities in Canada.

The deal with GM followed the pattern set with Ford Motor, which settled with Unifor last month.

The deal included base hourly wage increases of nearly 20% for production and 25% for skilled trades over the lifetime of three-year agreement. It would bring back cost-of-living allowances, or COLA, by the end of 2024.

In the United States, about 9,200 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have affected two GM assembly plants and 18 parts distribution centers. GM also has furloughed about 2,300 U.S. workers due to the impact of the UAW strike.

Unifor has used the "pattern bargaining" approach in its talks, reaching a deal first with Ford and then picking GM as the second bargaining target. Reaching a deal with Chrysler parent Stellantis is up next for Unifor.

The UAW, on the other hand, broke with that approach under its new leadership, choosing instead to simultaneously bargain with all three automnakers.

Unifor has sought improved wages and pensions, support in the transition to electric vehicles and additional investment commitments from the automakers.

The workers at GM's CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, are covered under a separate contract.

(Reporting by Shivansh Tiwary, Nathan Gomes and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Ben Klayman, Matthew Lewis, Diane Craft and Sandra Maler)