Oshawa assembly plant workers walk out after GM rejects union proposals to keep facility open

Oshawa assembly plant workers walk out after GM rejects union proposals to keep facility open

in Jan 08, 2019


Unionized workers at the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant have walked off the job, hours after the company reaffirmed its plans to shut down the facility by the end of the year.

“The workers were so upset they couldn’t work. They couldn’t believe that General Motors had announced that all their hard work was going to be rewarded by cancelling their livelihoods, by telling them the plant is closing,” Greg Moffatt, the plant chair representing Unifor workers at GM’s Oshawa facility, told reporters late Tuesday evening.

“I can send General Motors a message right now: We’re not going to lay down. We’re proud people, we’re proud Canadians, and I believe Canadians and taxpayers are behind the workers in the city of Oshawa.”

General Motors rejects proposals by Unifor to keep Oshawa assembly plant open past 2019

The action came after the union posted messages on Twitter saying on-duty workers were holding a sit-in.

“The buzzers are sounding in the Oshawa Assembly Plant tonight because the line is down. Workers are protesting @GM and it’s betrayal of Canadian workers and consumers after it rejected Unifor’s proposed solutions to #SaveOshawaGM today,” Unifor Canada tweeted out just before 8 p.m.

“Hey @GM if you want to sell in Canada, you need to keep building in #Oshawa say workers who are peacefully protesting tonight, sitting at their benches at the plant @GMcanada plans to close.”

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

In photos shared by the union, workers could also be seen gathering on part of the assembly line.

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

“I am deeply disappointed by the response from the corporation,” said Dias at a press conference in Windsor, Ont.

WATCH: ‘This is about corporate greed’: Unifor president Jerry Dias fumes after meeting with GM

The options suggested by the union, including extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS currently produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant, are not economic, said David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada.

“We studied all of the different proposals in detail, some of which we studied in detail before, and they all added substantial incremental cost and they would not address the economic situation that we have with the shift in the marketplace,” he said.

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.

More to come.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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