The invite was first extended five months ago after council members heard from Unifor retirees. Barra was invited to meet local stakeholders and visit the city, in which the hotly contested Oshawa assembly is located.
Mayor John Henry extended the invite once again on January 13, this time receiving a response from Barra, in which she said she would keep it in mind should her schedule allow.
“I assure you that we at GM remain very proud of our long history in Canada going back to the innovative leadership of Colonel Sam McLaughlin,” she wrote.
She went on to say GM Canada managing director, Steve Carlisle, continuously keeps her informed on the country’s operations and ongoing work with Oshawa and the government.
One council member in particular, Nancy Diamond, took her response as a “No thanks, not interested” play.
“If we don’t stand up for these workers, I don’t think anybody else will and Mary Barra’s answer is inadequate,” said Diamond. “Mary Barra, General Motors company has not recognized the contributions of this community, the workers of Durham and beyond to the vast profitability to that company.”
In response, council members supported a motion to voice their disappointment with GM. They mayor will now decide if speaking to Carlisle, writing a follow-up letter or visiting Detroit, Michigan, will be the best course of action.