UPDATE 5-Canada union far from a deal with GM ahead of strike deadline

Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:52pm EDT
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(New throughout, adds comment from union president)

By Allison Martell and Ethan Lou

TORONTO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Canada's main autoworkers union remained far from a deal with General Motors Co on Monday evening though the automaker had made a contract proposal, the union's president said ahead of a midnight strike deadline.

GM's Canadian arm and the union, Unifor, have been divided over union demands that GM commit to building new vehicle models at its Oshawa, Ontario, plant.

"We have a long way to go, and we're running out of time, and I'm not in a great mood at this moment, to be perfectly candid," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "We're not where we need to be, let's put it that way."

Dias said GM had made a proposal, but talks were not going as well as he had hoped.

A strike would involve nearly 4,000 workers at two GM plants in the Ontario cities of Oshawa and St Catharines. A third GM plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, is excluded from talks because its 2,700 workers have a separate contract.

GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright said in an email that the company was focused on working with Unifor to reach a "mutually beneficial and competitive new agreement."

Canada has been struggling to get new investments from automakers in its once-thriving vehicle assembly industry, losing out to the southern United States and lower-cost Mexico.   Continued...