Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Workers at GM's Oshawa plant stop work in protest over planned closure

Workers at GM's Oshawa plant stop work in protest over planned closure

Unionized workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, are holding another sit-down protest over the planned closure of the facility that would lead to the loss of 3,000 jobs.

"GM today, by reconfirming their decision, has not only picked a fight frankly with Unifor, but they have picked a fight with all of Canada", said Dias.

'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.

After meeting with GM officials on Tuesday, Dias revealed in a news conference that the company rejected union proposals to keep the plant open.

"They talked about the inevitable closures in the United States and now they're saying we'll deal with it with the UAW in collective bargaining", said Dias.

In November, GM announced it would close 5 plants this year, 4 in the U.S. and this one in Canada.

"There would be a major ripple effect that would be felt far beyond Oshawa and even Ontario", Unifor President Jerry Dias said in a press release.

"I'm furious right now", Dias added.

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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.

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. GM says it has identified job opportunities and is willing to pay for retraining.

Poloz, who is from Oshawa, said he doesn't like to see the shrinking footprint of GM in the city but is hopeful for its future.

Colin James, president of Unifor Local 222 in Oshawa, speaks to the media with Unifor national leader Jerry Dias on Tuesday at the Unifor Local 444/200 hall following their meeting with General Motors executives in Detroit. It also operates two shifts that complete final assembly on the outgoing generation of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

It was also unclear if any work stoppages would coincide with a Unifor rally in Windsor, Ontario on Friday.

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.

In November, the same Oshawa GM workers staged a one day wildcat strike walking out of the plant.

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