Workers at GM's Oshawa Assembly Plant hold work stoppage over closure

Lloyd Doyle
January 9, 2019

"When they whittle away at every plant, it is easier to close the next one".

GM said on November 26 it would close the Oshawa assembly plant and five other factories by December, 2019, eliminating more than 6,000 hourly jobs on top of thousands of salaried positions to save US$6-billion a year.

A union spokesperson said workers are returning back on the production line.

GM has said the Oshawa closure affects 2,973 assembly line jobs.

GM said in a letter to Dias that it had already considered several proposals including those the union raised at the meeting.

"There have been strategic decisions to move products from Canada to Mexico", Dias said. "The reality is that GM can reverse its decision".

"GM acknowledged the importance of the Canadian (car-buying) market".

"We understand they're perhaps not ready for that discussion". In 2017, GM in Oshawa produced 100,000 vehicles. That was taxpayer money out of our economy. "The auto sector needs to be retained", said Joe Graves, president of Unifor Local 88 which represents 2,800 workers at Cami.

GM has said they won't change plans because it will cost them more to operate and make them less competitive.

"Having completed an analysis of Unifor's proposals, GM has determined that it can not pursue them because they would not combat the declining economic and market factors that must be addressed".

He vowed Unifor would step up its current ad campaign urging the company to reconsider.

Already late Tuesday, Unifor members at the Oshawa Assembly Plant began staging a sit-down protest on the job to express their outrage following the meeting with GM on the future of the plant.

Unifor, the national union representing auto workers, is organizing a rally Friday, within view of GM headquarters in Detroit and a meeting with investors.

The union is also considering its legal options, Dias said.

Hundreds of workers walked off the job at the Oshawa plant in protest on the day GM announced its plans.

"Canadians are furious today and frankly so am I", added Dias. "The question is do they have the political will to do so".

"Until they turn the lights off, it's always prudent to keep trying", Volpe said.

"In our history, Chrysler has never approached what GM keeps doing to us time and time again", he said.

GM reviewed the proposals and met with Unifor President Jerry Dias on Tuesday where they told him they weren't going to change their mind and extend operations in Oshawa.

With the GM world headquarters towers looming in the Detroit background, a billboard message from Unifor on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor, shown January 8, 2019, has a message about the automaker's Oshawa Assembly Plant.

"Unifor presented General Motors with solid options to maintain production in Oshawa last month", Dias said in a release.

GM officials say they have been contacted by more than 20 large employers across Durham Region and the GTA interested in hiring GM workers for up to 5,000 positions they plan to fill over the next two years.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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