Workers return to GM's Canada plant; union to meet Trudeau

Gladys Abbott
November 29, 2018

GM said it has no plans to make automobiles at three factories in Oshawa, Ont., Detroit and Warren, Ohio, as well as parts plants in Maryland and MI.

"The Impala and Cadillac XTS will no longer be produced or sold after the end of 2019 so we will be left at the end of that period without a product to work on so we have sadly had to provide notice to our employees of the changes", Patterson said.

"We're going to continue to explore all opportunities that allow us to be more efficient with our investments, more efficient with our capital", she said.

Workers said they were creating a blockade, stopping trucks carrying supplies from entering the plant.

He says it's still hard to say exactly how much impact the closures will have on the rest of the supply chain, including at auto parts plants in the Quinte Region.

"This is hard for all of us, including for salaried workers".

"The ones that are sole-sourced to the plant, you know, who've been living off GM rather than getting out and hustling other business, they're vulnerable". "This is a change that is personal and it is family here for us". I have two brothers in the plant.

The huge ― and modern ― plant has 2,500 unionized employees and 300 non-union workers.

Wildeboer said that the Oshawa closure will affect about one per cent of Martinrea's revenue, since the company is internationally diversified. This notion that somehow because we are an hour away we are not affected is absolutely not true.

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"We have to find out why, see what can be done and also stand with the families impacted". They are meant to be proactive steps to ensure GM for the future. "They know they're making a great product. but they also realize that the vehicle is not selling, and, you know, the key is to get another product for this plant".

Like other US vehicle manufacturers, GM is shifting away from production of sedans and toward the more popular SUVs and light-duty trucks, although it did not specify that any models will be eliminated from its lineup.

Dias argues that if General Motors stops making cars in Canada, it would devastate the parts industry and that would cause big trouble for other vehicle companies. This is a critical sector for our economy.

"Are we disappointed? Yeah, we're disappointed in GM", Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters in Toronto, pointing out that the company benefited from billions of dollars in life-support from the government during the economic downturn of a decade ago.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in April that the Oshawa complex was headed for closure in June of this year.

When the federal and provincial governments bailed out the auto industry in 2009 at a time when bankruptcy appeared imminent, the deal required the Big Three to keep 16 per cent of its North American production in Canada ― a requirement that ended in 2016. GM did not announce plans to replace them with new models. But he noted the former head of GM Canada, Steve Carlisle, was determined it wouldn't close on his watch.

"It is a sad day for Oshawa", he told CTV's Your Morning.

The statement also pointed out that Oshawa's automotive workforce has "a proven record of accomplishment for setting high quality standards and winning global productivity awards".

The competition means that even productive plants like Oshawa can't necessarily compete as companies streamline operations and vehicles lines, said Greig Mordue, McMaster University's Arcelor Mittal Dofasco chair in advanced manufacturing.

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