Workers at GM's Oshawa plant stop work in protest over planned closure

Ivan Schwartz
January 12, 2019

Dias held a press conference after the meeting in Detroit and although things looked bleak, he remained optimistic.

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

"What is equally disappointing is there was a clear acknowledgement that a solution could be found", Dias said, adding that GM recognized that it could continue operating its Oshawa facility without hurting the company's bottom line.

"Should GM proceed with plans to close Oshawa, the economic impact would be substantial, both in the short and long term".

Dias alleged company officials had "acknowledged they could continue to build the programs that are now in place in Oshawa", and keeping the plant open "wouldn't hurt the company's bottom line".

GM has claimed its restructuring plan, including the plant closures, stands to save the company US$6 billion annually. But it is also part of a broader strategy launched by chief executive Mary Barra that will see the company focus more on its electric and autonomous vehicle programs.

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

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"The reality is General Motors is going to have to find a solution to keep our Oshawa Plant going".

Unifor is planning a "major demonstration" in Windsor this Friday, and expects thousands to attend, Dias said. The question is do they have the political will to do so.

Unifor's national auto director Dino Chiodo, former president of Local 444 in Windsor, also expressed his frustration with GM executives following Tuesday's meeting. They don't care about workers or Canadians. A union spokesperson said workers are returning back on the production line.

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

The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.

The president of the union representing Canadian autoworkers says his members don't have the same government support that American autoworkers enjoy in their efforts to convince General Motors to keep plants from shutting down.

A high level meeting with GM officials this week came to naught as GM restated its position to close the plant.

Other reports by GizPress

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