General Motors’ decision to close down its Oshawa Assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario will displace more than 3,000 workers – more than half of which will be eligible for retirement and thus entitled to receive a GM pension.
GM calls its pension for retirement eligible GM Oshawa workers “generous.” These workers are set to receive a retirement incentive bonus valued at $50,000 to $60,000 CAD, which will be made in lump sum payments, along with a $20,000 CAD GM car voucher.
Those who are not retirement eligible may be eligible to be retrained for a new position within the Durham region. In December, GM said it had identified “more than 2,400 good, open jobs,” at local employers, GM Canada and its dealers, which employees could take advantage of. It’s not yet clear how many Oshawa. employees plan on actually transitioning to these positions, however.
GM Canada president Travis Hester also said last year that his priority was “to have a transition plan for every Oshawa Assembly employee,” and vowed to “work with our community colleges, universities, the government and all interested local employers, to make this happen.” The company said it was “committing millions of dollars,” to support this effort as well.
GM came under fire from Canadian labor union Unifor for its decision to leave Oshawa after the Canadian government helped bail it out in 2009. GM responded by saying it has “repaid that support more than 10 times over since 2009,” by contributing over “$100 billion in Canadian manufacturing and purchased goods and $8 billion into GM Canada pensions that support Unifor members.”
In a statement, the automaker said the GM Canada hourly pension plan “was more than 100% funded on a going concern basis,” at last valuation and pointed out that it supports “approximately 31,000 hourly retirees and 7,000 salary retirees in Canada,” through its pension program.
The Oshawa Assembly plant will close toward the end of 2019, ending production of the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala. The GM Canada headquarters in the region will remain open, while the automaker’s new Markham tech campus and forthcoming Toronto tech campus will diversify the automaker’s presence in the region.