Autoworkers to protest during GM investors meeting in Windsor, Ont., today

Lloyd Doyle
January 14, 2019

Workers at General Motors Co assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario staged a sit-down protest that interrupted production for about two hours on Wednesday morning, a union spokeswoman said, following a similar protest late on Tuesday.

The estimates the closure of the plant by the end of the year will result in 14,000 fewer jobs in Ontario and 10,000 fewer jobs outside the province by 2025, compared with keeping the assembly plant open.

Unifor said GM is expected to outline its future corporate direction to investors on Friday at GM's Detroit headquarters, which includes expansion of production in Mexico.

"Thousands of us stood today to oppose GM's callous decision to devastate workers and their families, the community of Oshawa and the Canadian economy - not because they have to but because they choose to", said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "The message has to be if you want to sell here you better build here", a fired-up Dias said.

Dias demanded Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford set up a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra and tell GM how disgusted they are with the decision to close the Oshawa plant later this year.

Dias sat down with GM earlier this week to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.

Unifor, which contends GM has violated its 2016 contract with the union by leaving the plant without new products to build, has launched an advertising campaign in Canada and USA attacking GM's plans and threatened by launching a full-blown boycott of GM products in Canada.

GM said the Oshawa plant will close at the end of 2019.

Mike Longmoore, a 76-year-old Chrysler retiree from Windsor, said until GM becomes more reasonable, it may not sell as many vehicles here. "It's total corporate greed". She was one of an estimated 2,000 Oshawa area workers who came to the rally, according to Unifor.

GM said it has identified job opportunities, is willing to pay for retraining and is open to negotiations on packages for workers on top of what is already included in contracts.

Several Windsor politicians attended the rally, including NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky.

"Shame on you, General Motors", said Moffat. "General Motors has gone too far".

Dias told the crowd including many workers from Oshawa that if GM doesn't listen to the union or politicians, it will hopefully listen to Wall Street "when we start to take direct action in Canada to get your absolute attention".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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