UPDATE 1-Canada union cancels contract vote at GM Ontario plant

Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:59pm EDT

TORONTO, March 22 (Reuters) - The Canadian Auto Workers has canceled a Sunday ratification vote on a new contract for union members at a General Motor Co assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, after negotiations hit a snag.

The CAW, which represents about 2,500 workers at CAMI Automotive Inc, have been bargaining over a new contract months ahead of the current deal's September expiration.

Mike Van Boekel, chairman of the CAMI plant unit of CAW's Local 88, said on Friday the union and GM had yet to reach a deal and there were still unresolved issues between the two sides. He declined to provide further details.

The union, which had set the March 24 deadline as early as January, had previously said it would seek the same core terms as in the contract negotiated in September 2012 for CAW members at other GM plants in Ontario.

In an update issued earlier this week, the union said talks were "moving slowly".

"We believe we've still got a long way to go before a final, acceptable, deal can be reached," the bargaining committee wrote in a post on Local 88's website.

A Globe and Mail report said one of the issues involved is the status of about 350 temporary workers at the plant. Under the four-year master contract negotiated in the fall, temporary workers at GM's Oshawa, Ontario, plant were made permanent.

"Discussions with the CAW regarding CAMI are ongoing. We have been working closely with the CAW towards positioning CAMI favourably for the future given the challenges faced by Canadian manufacturers," said GM Canada's corporate communications manager, Adria MacKenzie, in an emailed statement.

Earlier this month, the Detroit automaker announced it was spending C$250 million to retrofit the CAMI plant for future vehicle production. The CAW expressed confidence at the time that the investment would result in more job security.

The CAMI plant, which operates 24 hours a day, six days a week, with mandatory overtime, is running at full capacity producing the popular crossover utility models Chevrolet Equinox and the GMC Terrain.