General Motors: Firm on Oshawa closure

Union head to discuss fate of GM Oshawa plant - 680 NEWS

Union head to discuss fate of GM Oshawa plant - 680 NEWS

The head of Canada's auto union blasted General Motors for pushing ahead with plans to phase out work at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant despite calls by workers and politicians in Canada to find a new vehicle to build there.

"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.

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.

The closure of Oshawa's GM plant will immediately result in the loss of a combined 4,400 jobs on the assembly line and at parts manufacturers across Ontario and the job loss will only grow over time, a union-commissioned study has found.

After he returned from the meeting with GM, Dias told reporters in a press conference in Windsor, Ontario, that the union was looking at its legal options regarding whether the Detroit company violated the labor contract.

Dias said he's not accepting the end of Oshawa, and that the company acknowledged in the meeting it would be possible to extend current production at the plant.

"I'm furious right now", Dias added. "And yet Oshawa has grown and people live there and they all have jobs".

"The reality is General Motors will only understand if Canadians push them in the decisions they are making", Dias said. "But at least he's fighting", said Dias.

In the statement to Unifor, the company proposed it would review its timing of when certain outputs will wrap up in Oshawa this year, and discuss transition plans for workers who may elect to retire or pursue new careers.

Unifor has refused to consider negotiations on a shutdown of Oshawa.

A high level meeting with GM officials this week came to naught as GM restated its position to close the plant. The union has planned a rally in Windsor, Ont. Friday to coincide with a GM investor update.

While GM is shutting its Oshawa plant, it's not leaving Canada entirely.

Paterson said in a phone interview that the move in the auto market away from cars means the company has to transition away from the models, while it is too expensive and will take too long to shift other production to the already under capacity Oshawa plant.

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

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