Nemak Will Cast GM Ecotec Engine Blocks

Union agrees to separate bargaining unit for new product line


Nemak has won a significant contract to supply aluminum engine blocks to General Motors for its new Ecotec series engines, essentially saving the Windsor, ON, casting operation from closing. The plant produces blocks engine blocks for GM and Ford, at a total capacity of 400,000/year, though its contract to supply Ford is due to expire next year.

Neither Nemak nor GM has indicated the terms of the new supply contract, which would begin next year.

The GM contract followed an August agreement between Nemak and the Canadian Auto Workers union that allows the foundry to create a stand-alone bargaining unit for workers assigned to the new production program. These production workers will earn about one-third less than the current rate (from C$30/hour to C$19.50/hour). Skilled tradesmen will earn C$26.33/hour.

About 230 workers are employed overall at the Nemak plant, which has had a large number of layoffs in the past year.

Nemak will invest a reported C$8 million to retool a production line, of which the City of Windsor will contribute C$3 million.

GM announced earlier this month that it will invest $483 million to expand production of its Ecotec engines at the powertrain plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The bulk of that investment is directed at the forthcoming Ecotec engine model, which GM touts for its fuel efficiency, performance, and low-emission technology. The four-cylinder Ecotec engines feature direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and turbocharging.

Nemak produces aluminum cylinder heads, engine blocks and transmission parts, and other aluminum automotive components at 27 plants worldwide.

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