Recording artist Sting arrived in Oshawa, Ontario by police escort last week in order to perform for workers at General Motors’ ill-fated Oshawa Assembly plant.
According to Automotive News, the former frontman of The Police appeared in Oshawa alongside cast members of his musical The Last Ship and performed songs from show, which is currently playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.
The Last Ship follows the rise and fall of the shipbuilding industry in Sting’s hometown of Newcastle, UK.The plot of the musical is similar to the situation in Oshawa, Sting explained during his visit, with the displacement of a major manufacturing operation set to leave many workers in the region unemployed.
“It was very important to come here and make a connection with the workers here, because the story we are telling on the stage every night at the Princess of Wales is this story, and it’s a very human story and it’s a very common story, and so we wanted to come here and express our solidarity and support for the struggle,” he said during an address to Unifor workers in attendance at the show. “But its quite uncanny the parallel between what we’re doing on stage every night and what we’re seeing today.”
AN reports that before introducing Sting on stage, Unifor president Gerry Dias used a cheeky reference to one of Sting’s popular songs to warn GM that it hasn’t given up on its fight to keep Oshawa open just yet.
“GM, every move you make, every vow you break, we’ll be watching you,” he said.
In a statement addressing the concert, GM said it was good to see the popular musician showing his support for GM Oshawa workers.
“Sting is a celebrated songwriter and it’s great to have him in Oshawa,” the automaker said. “We agree that community-based efforts are important to support employees, especially when industries have to change. Pensions, $50-60,000 lump sums, new car vouchers, extended benefits and paid retraining at our local community colleges to prepare employees for over 5,000 good available GTA area jobs are among the supports GM has asked Unifor to start to discuss for Oshawa Assembly workers.”
(source: Automotive News)