Unifor, the union representing employees at General Motors’ Oshawa Plant, has released a statement responding to the American automaker’s plans to close the site in 2019.
In the statement, the union said it “does not accept” GM’s plans to close the Ontario, Canada plant and called on the automaker to adhere to the contract the two parties negotiated in 2016. That agreement indicated that GM was not to close any of its Unifor plants during the contract period, which was supposed to last until September of 2020.
Addressing a crowed of concerned workers in Oshawa Monday, Unifor president Jerry Dias said “they are not closing our damn plant without one hell of a fight.”
“We have a collective agreement that says they’re not closing any of our facilities,” he added. “So we will do anything by any means to make sure that they live up to their word.”
The Oshawa plant closure will put about 2,800 people out of work. Dias said he would work with Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address the closure and will meet with the Canadian federal government to discuss the matter Tuesday. The outlook is grim, however, with Ford downplaying hopes that he’d be able to change GM’s mind.
“They’re gone. They’re done,” Ford said in the Canadian legislature today. “They told me straight up, there’s nothing we can do.”
Workers in Oshawa walked off the job Monday in protest to GM’s decision.
The decision to pull the plug on the Oshawa plant is part of a greater restructuring effort within GM. The company also plans to close its Detroit-Hamtramck and Lordstown Assembly plants, which build the Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, and Volt, along with the Cadillac CT6 and XTS and the Buick LaCrosse. Two US transmission plants will also shut down under the plan, along with two yet-to-be-named plants outside of North America. GM will also trim its non-union staff by 15 percent, including a reduction in executive positions.
This restructuring effort will allow GM to cut around $6 billion in expenses by 2020, it says, enabling the company to invest more heavily in electric and autonomous vehicles.