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, which has vowed to block GM's plan to close Oshawa by the end of 2019, met with GM officials in Detroit on Tuesday.
The options suggested by the union, including extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS now produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant, are not economic, said David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada.
Dias said the US$22-million annual salary of company CEO Mary Barra is greater than the entire payroll of one assembly plant in Mexico.
The closure of Oshawa's GM plant will immediately result in the loss of a combined 4,400 jobs on the assembly line and at parts manufacturers across Ontario and the job loss will only grow over time, a union-commissioned study has found.
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.
One of Oshawa's most prominent sons is bullish on the small Canadian city's chances of surviving the shutdown of its General Motors Co. plant.
"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".
David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada, said the union should instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the workers who are losing their jobs.
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GM has said the Oshawa closure affects 2,973 assembly-line 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.
While different parts of production were shut down Wednesday morning, the entire line was halted intermittently, said Unifor spokeswoman Kathleen O'Keefe.
A large rally has also been planned by the union for 10:30 a.m.in Windsor on Friday - scheduled to coincide with an investors' meeting GM is hosting across the river in Detroit.
Unifor is now expecting GM to say whether or not it will consider keeping the facility open.
A high level meeting with GM officials this week came to naught as GM restated its position to close the plant.
GM says they are ready to discuss support and transition packages for workers.
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