GM Oshawa workers fear job cuts with fewer vehicles to build
The union that represents close to 2,600 workers at a General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa say the company is arranging an “exit strategy” that they fear could eventually shut the factory down.
Representatives from Unifor Local 222 say a lack of new vehicle announcements made by GM could leave workers with fewer vehicles to build by next summer.
They suspect production for two of the four models they currently assemble -- the Buick Regal sedan and the Chevrolet Equinox SUV -- will be “built out” and moved to other plants in Canada, the United States and China by next year.
“The next-generation Buick (Regal) will be made in China,” Greg Moffat, Unifor’s master bargaining committee chairperson for GM, said at a news conference in Oshawa on Tuesday.
Moffat said the plant will likely be left to build the Chevrolet Impala and the Cadillac XTS, but that the Cadillac won’t require enough work “for one shift” of plant workers as it’s a luxury car sold in smaller quantities.
In an effort to save jobs, workers are calling on the federal and provincial governments to insist GM give them some sort of assurance on the fate of the assembly plant and also assign new vehicles for it to produce.
“I’m asking GM to quit skaring around. They can tell us we are going to be driving driverless cars in the next 10 to 15 years, but they can’t tell us what we are building in the City of Oshawa in the next three?” Moffat said. “I find that hard to believe.’
“We don’t want GM to turn Oshawa into another Flint, Michigan,” Unifor 222 President Colin James said, referring to the gradual regression of the city where GM was founded in 1908.
In a news release issued Tuesday, GM Canada President Steve Carlislie said that “GM remains committed to doing strong business in Canada - in terms of sales, assembly and now in new advanced engineering work.”
Carlislie added that he and the company have “immense respect” for Unifor.
Back in June, Carlislie, Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the creation of 700 new engineering jobs in Markham and elsewhere which will focus on the development of self-driving cars.