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GM says pickup truck production to return to Oshawa plant with new Unifor deal


TORONTO — General Motors Canada president Scott Bell says the automaker will bring pickup truck production back to its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant.

The announcement Thursday came after the company reached a tentative contract agreement with Unifor.

“Construction will begin immediately at Oshawa Assembly and will include a new body shop and flexible assembly module, to support a fast response to strong customer demand for GM’s new family of pickup trucks,” Bell said in a statement.

“Pickups are GM’s largest and most important market segment in Canada and across the continent. They also help GM fund our transition to the electric, autonomous and highly connected future we see ahead.”

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Oshawa pickup production is targeted to begin in January 2022.

Vote takes place Sunday

Unifor’s members are to vote on the new tentative agreement on Sunday.

The union has unanimously recommended approval to its 1,700 members working at GM plants in the southern Ontario cities of St. Catharines, Oshawa and Woodstock.

GM said its planned new investments will include $1 billion to $1.3 billion in Oshawa with the expected hiring of 1,400 to 1,700 hourly workers as well as $109 million in St. Catharines, Ont., to support added engine and transmission production and $500,000 in operations at the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre.

The return of pickup production in Oshawa is a major victory for Unifor, which saw the assembly plant east of Toronto produce its last vehicle and close in December last year.

The tentative deal with General Motors is the last agreement reached by the union with the major U.S. automarkets.

Earlier deals with Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also included promises of billions in new investment in Canada.