“I’ve had better days.”
That was Unifor president Jerry Dias on Friday, hours after he announced that General Motors (GM) was cutting 625 jobs at the CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., which employs 2,800 people.
It’s a facility where workers will assemble the auto giant’s GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox SUVs until July, when production of the latter will be transferred to Mexico.
A spokeswoman for GM Canada said the cuts relate to a change of production from an older Equinox to a next-generation model. GM is also transferring production of the Terrain to Mexico.
Unifor called the job cuts a “betrayal” that shows “why NAFTA is a terrible deal for Canadian jobs.”
They come years after the federal and Ontario governments gave GM Canada and Chrysler Canada a combined $13.7 million to support the auto sector amid the financial crisis, in 2009.
But the 625 Ingersoll jobs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Canada has lost to Mexico in the decades since NAFTA came into force.
And it’s a move that has a union leader lining up with U.S. President Donald Trump, at least when it comes to free trade.
It’s difficult, even impossible, to quantify how many manufacturing jobs Canada has lost to America’s southern neighbour.
But the latest cuts are far from the first time that auto manufacturing has shifted southward, where workers can earn as little as US$2.90 per hour, while Canadian workers have been known to make as much as $30 per hour, The Globe and Mail reported.
In 2015, Toyota announced it was moving production of the Corolla from a plant in Cambridge, Ont. to a facility in Guanajuato, Mexico. The company later announced that the Toyota RAV4 would be produced at the Cambridge plant.
Earlier that year, the federal government earmarked $100 million in taxpayer funds to help Toyota expand its operations in Ontario.
More information on Global News