Latest GM Canada, Unifor deal includes DB pension changes, benefits enhancements

General Motors and the union representing Canadian auto workers reached a tentative contract agreement Tuesday, ending a strike that began just after midnight.

About 4,300 striking workers at two GM factories and a parts warehouse returned to work Tuesday afternoon and will vote on the three-year deal later. The tentative agreement with GM follows the pattern agreement Unifor reached with Ford Motor Co. last month.

For defined contribution pension plan members, mandatory company contributions will increase from four per cent to seven per cent. In addition, DC plan members will transition to a new DB-style pension for current plan members and all new hires on Jan. 1, 2025.

Read: Ford, Unifor agreement includes significant DC pension improvements, transition to DB plan

While a press release from Unifor didn’t include any details about health benefits improvements mirroring the Ford agreement, the GM agreement does include a new quarterly payment for Canadian retirees called the universal health-care allowance. The quarterly payments will continue in each year of the three-year agreement.

As well, employees will receive two new paid holidays — Family Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The deal also includes pay raises of nearly 20 per cent for production workers and 25 per cent for skilled trades. Workers would get 10 per cent in general pay raises in the first year, with two per cent in the second and three per cent in the third. The company also agreed to restore cost-of-living pay raises starting in December 2024. Temporary workers would get pay raises and those with at least one year of service would get permanent jobs.

Read: GM Canada, Unifor agreement covers DB pension changes

Lana Payne, president of Unifor said that, when faced with the strike, GM had no choice but to follow a pattern agreement reached earlier with Ford. She says the deal includes “all items that the company had initially fought us on such as pensions, retiree income supports and converting full-time temporary workers into permanent employees over the life of the agreement.”

She said she expects a ratification vote on the GM deal in the coming days. If approved, only Jeep maker Stellantis would be left without a contract with Unifor. Payne said she expects talks to begin soon with the company, which has the largest manufacturing footprint in Canada of the Detroit automakers.

“I expect Stellantis will come here kicking and screaming the same way General Motors did,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

Stellantis declined to comment.

Read: Latest GM Canada, Unifor deal includes DB pension changes, benefits enhancements