GM rejects Unifor's proposals to keep Oshawa plant open past 2019

The General Motors car assembly plant in Oshawa Ontario.
Eduardo Lima  The Canadian Press  
THE CANADIAN PRESS

"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 automaker said in the letter from GM Canada president Travis Hester.

Unifor president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but were turned down.

Unifor is calling for a workers rally in Windsor to protest during the GM investors event in Detroit on January 11.

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

"I'm deeply disappointed at the response from the corporation", Dias said.

Dias alleged company officials had "acknowledged they could continue to build the programs that are now in place in Oshawa", and keeping the plant open "wouldn't hurt the company's bottom line".

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

As it stands General Motors in Oshawa will close down in 2019.

"Though there was an understanding of the importance of the (Canadian) market and the incredible contribution of our members in Oshawa, they weren't reaching for the solution which is at hand".

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Dias previously promised "one hell of a fight" to prevent the Oshawa plant's closure.

Unifor spokeswoman, Kathleen O'Keefe told BlackburnNews.com the morning shift staged a second sit-down Wednesday morning.

The company acknowledged the frustration that led to the work stoppages, but urged the union to instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the approximately 2,600 unionized workers who are losing their jobs.

Furthermore, General Motors says it has identified up to 5,000 job opportunities for impacted workers at more than 20 businesses in the Durham Region and the GTA.

GM has, for its part, has said that the closure of the plant is necessary as it shifts its focus to electric and autonomous vehicles.

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

Decision to close Oshawa Assembly Plant all about "corporate greed", Unifor national leader Jerry Dias told a Windsor news conference Tuesday after a meeting in Detroit with GM executives.

Last month, Unifor presented the automaker with a number of options to keep the plant open.

While the study does concede that there could be a slight uptick in employment across Canada at first as laid off workers move to other parts of the country it estimates that 10,000 jobs will eventually be lost outside Ontario due to a weaker economy.

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