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A worker leaves the General Motors CAMI car assembly plant, in Ingersoll, Ont., on Jan. 27, 2017.

Geoff Robins/Reuters

Workers at the General Motors Co. auto plant in Ingersoll, Ont., have ratified a collective agreement that will transform the factory in Southwestern Ontario to build electric parcel vans.

GM said it will spend $1-billion to immediately retool the CAMI plant to make BrightDrop EV 600s, a new line of electric vehicles it announced last week.

The workers’ 91-per-cent ratification caps a few months in which Unifor won about $6-billion in investments for Ontario’s auto plants in contract negotiations with Ford Motor Co. , GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles .

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“This is the result of collaboration with the Ontario and federal governments, and General Motors,” Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, said in a statement.

The agreement for the Ingersoll plant marks the third contract that stakes out Ontario’s place in the hybrid or electric vehicle marketplace, a small but growing segment embraced for its more environmentally friendly footprint.

Ford in October said it will spend $1.8-billion, including $580-million in taxpayer money, at its Oakville plant to make electric vehicles beginning in 2024.

Fiat Chrysler will invest as much as $1.58-billion to retool its Windsor, Ont., factory to make battery-powered and hybrid vehicles by 2024, adding 2,000 jobs.

Additionally, GM said it would spend $1-billion to rebuild its mothballed assembly line in Oshawa to make Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks to meet growing demand in the United States. The plant closed in December, 2019, putting almost 3,000 people out of work. The new assembly will employ between 1,400 and 1,700, and produce trucks beginning in January, 2022.

The three-year GM agreement covering 1,900 Unifor workers in Ingersoll ratified on Sunday follows the pattern at other automakers. It includes a 5-per-cent raise and a $7,250 productivity and quality bonus.

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