Economy

GM rejects Unifor proposals to keep Oshawa assembly plant open past 2019

GM rejects Unifor proposals to keep Oshawa assembly plant open past 2019”

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.

Unifor president Jerry Dias will update the media at the union hall in Windsor after a meeting with GM in Detroit on the future of the Oshawa assembly plant.

The union has emphasized the wider economic impacts of the shutdown and released a study Wednesday putting some hard numbers to the claims.

"It's about corporate greed", said Dias.

While Unifor vowed it will not advocate for a boycott of GM products, the union leader believes Canadian auto buyers are already steering away following the Oshawa plant announcement.

The study also says that there may be as many as 14,000 fewer jobs across the province by 2025 due to an estimated $4 billion annual reduction in Ontario's GDP.

Production at the Oshawa plant began on November 7, 1953, and in the 1980s the plant employed roughly 23,000 people.

Provincial government revenue would also fall by $330 million in 2020 and an estimated $500 million a year by 2030 while federal government revenue would drop by $520 million a year, according to the study.

"Being from Oshawa, I regret that very much".

"What has happened over the past 40 years is it has gone from that to nearly zero, and it'll be zero in Oshawa". "This is not only about jobs in Oshawa, but Canadians as a nation. So, this is what happens in economies, and that's the thing you have to admire - that Schumpeter's creative destruction thing is true".

The union suggestions included extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant. The workers are reacting to their National Unifor Union President Jerry Dias attempting to get GM executives to reconsider their plan to shut down that plant by the end of this year.

"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.

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. The union has planned a rally in Windsor, Ont. Friday to coincide with a GM investor update.



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