Canadian Manufacturing

Unifor says GM to consider Oshawa plant options and respond by Jan. 7

The automaker hasn't slammed the door on closing the plant, says Unifor president Jerry Dias


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PHOTO: GM Oshawa Assembly Plant/GM Canada


WINDSOR, Ont.—Unifor president Jerry Dias says General Motors will consider options put forward by the union to keep the Oshawa assembly plant open and respond by Jan. 7.

Dias met with senior GM officials at their headquarters in Detroit Thursday to make the case that the Ontario plant should be kept open.

“The meeting today was frustrating,” said Dias at a press conference in Windsor following the sit-down.

“But in the meeting today, General Motors did not unilaterally slam the door either. They announced that they would listen to our proposals and they would get back to us by the 7th of January whether or not they will work with us to find a solution.”

Dias said the company has options, such as extending the life of the car lines produced in Oshawa, keeping current truck production there, or shifting other planned production from Mexico to the Oshawa plant, which can produce both cars and trucks.

GM blindsided the union and the city of Oshawa when it announced in late November that it was winding down operations at the plant and cutting close to 3,000 jobs.

Unifor has described the move as a betrayal, amplifying that message by launching a new advertising campaign Thursday on television, radio, online and in newspapers.

“Our argument to General Motors today is that they truly have gone too far,” said Dias.

Dias has said the closure of the Oshawa plant would set the stage for the company leaving Canada entirely with just one assembly plant left in the country.

In a news release, GM Canada said it was looking to counter some of the claims of the union, adding that it was “committed to Canada and we are not going anywhere.” The company said it still has a workforce of more than 5,000 in Canada and has also committed millions of dollars to retrain and help Oshawa workers transition to new jobs.

Late last month, the automaker announced that the Oshawa plant was one of five facilities it would close, the four others being in the United States. Production at the Oshawa plant has been dwindling for years and it has been operating well under capacity.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019

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