Workers Frightened As GM Continues To Mull The Future Of Oshawa Facility6
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.
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So in 2019 GM may cease to exist as we have know it in Canada? That is when my GM lease expires. Will I get another GM as I have since 1966 OR a vehicle sold by a different, loyal company with a Canadian production footprint? Decisions, decisions.
All the die hard Holden fans in Australia stand beside you and support you during these times that GM screw everything that is not American.
As far as we are concerned, the Holden brand will be irrelevant to us after 2017 when the idiots at GM in Detroit close our Elizabeth (South Australia) and Port Melbourne (Victoria) factories and send us imported cars re-badged as Holden.
And what I fear is that by the end of the decade the brains trust that is GM Detroit will do the same to the Holden brand what they did with Pontiac.
By then Australians won’t give a toss about Holden after 2017, GM may as well pack up and piss off out of Australia because GM betrayed loyal fans and we no longer hold allegiance to GM.
The Holden marque is a part of our culture and heritage, if the car is not Australian, don’t disgrace it with a Holden badge.
I too, as a US Citizen stand with the Canadian and Australian workers. I have stated on these pages that as long as GM makes cars in China, to send to the States, I will not buy their product. What is happening in Australia is happening in the US as we have to bust a gut in order to do business with China, yet pull out the welcome mat for importing the Chinese Buicks and Cadillacs. With the concessions that US and Canadian taxpayers made to keep GM solvent during their improper bankruptcy caused by Management incompetence, there is no valid reason why they will depart production from your and my country. Heading toward retirement with a luxury car and a large pickup in my targets next year, GM can rot in hell if it can’t remember who made them great and supported them in the first place. Best wishes to the workers in both territories.
Unions can make pretty outrageous demands. I am Canadian and more than happy to see GM Canada effectively telling the union not to get stupid. It is a negotiating tactic and a smart first move.
I sympathize with the Holden comment but the conditions are not the same. While other countries protect their domestic auto manufacturing industries with subtle hurdles, the Australian government opened the doors wide for imports. About all the Holden executives could try to do was educate the politicians.
Louis thank you for getting this spot on.
The Union there really has damaged the relationship and their refusal to be competitive with other GM plants may seal their fate. The choice is up to them. GM has many plants and can give the work to those who are willing to work with them.
As for Holden it is just about the numbers. With development cost so high and sales numbers for autos in Australia it makes it tough to just make cars there and only for in country.
One only has to look around and it is far from GM being the only one leaving the market there. In fact they are one of the last to leave the party not the first.
@scott3 – your remarks are ill-informed. The union representing GM workers in Canada (Unifor) has negotiated agreements in the past that make GM’s labour costs in Canada lower than in the US or Europe. While producing 15% of GMs vehicles over the past few years, the Canadian plants have won 30% of the awards for quality and productivity. To top it all – GM only escaped bankruptcy in 2009 with the aid of $10.9 billion from Canadian governments. Now they are making record profits and handsomely rewarding their executives. They certainly owe it to our communities and the workers to maintain production jobs in Canada.