General Motors’ Canadian Workforce Union May Seek Early Oshawa Discussions3
Unifor, the union that represents General Motors’ Canadian workforce, may seek early negotiations with the automaker in order to secure jobs at its Oshawa Assembly plant, Automotive News reports.
GM previously said it would wait until 2016 to make a decision in regards to new product allocation at its Oshawa, Ontario facility. Unifor’s contract expires in the fall of 2016, the same year production commitments GM has with the Canadian government expire and the plant’s consolidated line will shut down.
President of GM Canada, Steven Carlisle, seemed open to early talks with Unifor when asked by Reuters early last week.
“Who’s to say what’s possible at this stage?” he said. “It’s been done before – so let’s see. I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Unifor would first be looking to know what product could potentially be made at the Oshawa plant if talks were to go forward.
“It doesn’t make any sense to go into bargaining if we don’t know what the finish line is,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said. “We need to understand what it is we’re chasing.”
Carlisle said any talks in regards to future product allocation at Oshawa would have to start with simple issues like cost, a common concern for companies, especially automakers, operating in Canada.
“We could take any old generic product and say, ‘what does the business case for that product look like in Oshawa versus some other place?’” said Carlisle.
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These union boys better realize that Oshawa is done. They can talk all they want, but it’s obvious that the decision has been made. Better start practicing your “habla usted ingles, senor”.
The union bosses are usually in on discussions of what future products their membership will build and when . I’ve seen this song and dance before . The bossses will normally tell the workers ” if you want to be considered to build whatever it is ” you may need to give something to GM . These guys are normally worried about their cushy jobs being taken away then the workers . Tneir paychecks are much bigger than the rank and file . So they have to come out with their stern retoric to show the line workers how concerned they are . I am sure they already know the plant is going to close . Keep an eye out for a change in upper management at the plant because GM has people that they can put in place that know how to close an assembly plant .
If they pull out of Oshawa, that’s going to be a black eye to the Canadian market. I am certain it will affect sales in Ontario, which is Canada’s largest market. GM is already struggling in the import-rich Toronto market, and this will only further hurt sales there. Over the years GM’s Oshawa plant has received many accolades for being one of the highest quality plants. It is also a flex line, which means it can build multiple models with minimal interruption. I imagine GM’s decision will have a lot to do with where they believe the value of the Canadian dollar will go. Right now it is going the right way for GM, but if it goes back up to par with the American dollar, it could mean the end for manufacturing in Oshawa.