Monday, 17 June, 2019

GM workers hold work stoppage at assembly plant

The Oshawa General Motors car assembly plant is shown in Oshawa Ont. on Nov 26 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Eduardo Lima The Oshawa General Motors car assembly plant is shown in Oshawa Ont. on Nov 26 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Eduardo Lima
Ginger Lawrence | 10 January, 2019, 00:11

With the GM world headquarters towers looming in the Detroit background, a billboard message from Unifor on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor, shown January 8, 2019, has a message about the automaker's Oshawa Assembly Plant.

But the company's current stance won't stop Unifor and its leaders from continuing to fight, Dias said.

'Deeply disappointed.' Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks to the media at the Unifor Local 444/200 Hall in Windsor on January 8, 2019, following a meeting with General Motors executives in Detroit to discuss the future of GM's Oshawa Assembly Plant.

The company responded the suggestions were too expensive and would further deteriorate GM's competitive position.

"It may not be profitable, but it certainly wouldn't cause them any sort of deep economic harm", said Dias.

"We know these decisions are challenging for all of us, but GM remains committed to working jointly with Unifor to facilitate and support the transition of the Oshawa Assembly workforce", the company said.

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

As for whether protests would continue, Diaz said, "We're just playing it by ear". It also plans to hold a demonstration in Windsor on Friday.

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Those would include 4,400 jobs at GM Oshawa and its parts suppliers in Ontario that would be lost in 2020 as well as lost direct and indirect opportunities from keeping the assembly plant open for an additional five years.

Whether the union will have any luck convincing GM to stay in Oshawa remains to be seen, especially since GM hasn't backed away from plans to shutter American facilities.

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.

"This is important for the future of the auto industry in Canada, especially for GM workers still here", said Jim Wilkes, executive with Unifor Local 27 in London.

On the question of public funding, Volpe said Canada shouldn't dismiss the idea outright given the losses associated with closure. "It's about the lack of acknowledgement about the success that GM is enjoying today".

The union is also considering its legal options, Dias said.

GM's stock price rose three per cent after BMO's upgrade on Monday, closing at US$34.82 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

"It is entrenched in communities across North America, including Oshawa", he said.