GM's Oshawa Plant Hit By Work Stoppage As Union Protests Planned Shutdown

GM's Oshawa Plant Hit By Work Stoppage As Union Protests Planned Shutdown

GM's Oshawa Plant Hit By Work Stoppage As Union Protests Planned Shutdown

Tuesday night, workers staged a sit-down protest to express their "outrage", according to a release from their union, Unifor.

The ongoing shift of auto manufacturing by GM away from Canada and USA has helped boost profits for the automaker to what the union leader said reached US$6 billion over the first nine months of 2018.

While Unifor vowed it will not advocate for a boycott of GM products, the union leader believes Canadian vehicle buyers are already steering away following the Oshawa plant announcement.

"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", the company said in a letter from GM Canada president Travis Hester and labour relations vice president Gerald Johnson.

On Tuesday, Unifor National President, Jerry Dias met with GM officials in Detroit to discuss options the union had submitted last month to keep the plant open.

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

"Canadians are furious today and frankly so am I", added Dias.

The decision would result in less than 200,000 GM vehicles built in Canada annually, yet GM expects Canadians to continue buying 300,000 vehicles per year, Dias said.

GM also has not allocated new products for four USA plants, raising the possibility of their closure and the elimination of a total of about 15,000 jobs in North America.

"We call on GM to reverse their decision".

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"This is about the people and families in Oshawa and the footprint we need in Canada".

But the company's current stance won't stop Unifor and its leaders from continuing to fight, Dias said. It also plans to hold a demonstration in Windsor on Friday.

"They have the ability to keep a product in Oshawa which is an award-winning facility", he said.

GM officials said they responded to Unifor proposals from December and invited the union to begin constructive discussions on transition strategies and supports for Oshawa Assembly workers who may elect to either retire or pursue new careers following their work for GM.

Unifor has refused to consider negotiations on a shutdown of Oshawa. "Union plans to escalate campaign to #SaveOshawaGM", Dias tweeted Tuesday after the meeting.

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The meeting came a day after Unifor launched TV advertisements lambasting GM for the slated closures on networks across Canada and in Detroit, where GM plans to close the storied Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that manufactures the hybrid Chevy Volt.

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