General Motors has iterated it will not commit to any future vehicle production at the Oshawa, Ontario facility until after labor negotiations this month. The Detroit News has chronicled just how important the Oshawa assembly has been in Canada, and how workers have nearly begun to accept the fact it may not be long for this world.
GM directly employees 3,750 employees at the Oshawa assembly, but another 1,100 are employed via contracts for customer service positions. 33,000 jobs are estimated to be tied to the Oshawa assembly regionally.
In all, if Oshawa were to close its doors, it would leave a gross domestic product gap of over $5 billion Canadian. The Canadian government would also lose out on more than $1 billion Canadian in revenue.
“We do everything they ask every day and then they don’t give you any heads-up or any commitment to anything. You live scared,” Matt Smith, 28, who has worked at the Oshawa plant 10 years, said.
General Motors released an official statement regarding the labor negotiation talks. It reads as follows:
We look forward to these contract negotiations with our Unifor partners, which will be about working together toward a mutually beneficial competitive agreement. We are proud of the experience, quality and productivity of our Canadian workforce. These negotiations are an important first hurdle in building a business case for future investments in Canada. This business case will also include other partners, such as government, suppliers and our communities.
Analysts have pegged a 2019 closure date for the Oshawa assembly should labor negotiations fail to secure new investments at the plant.