General Motors executives are preparing to meet with representatives from Unifor this week, the worker’s union representing employees at the automaker’s doomed Oshawa Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada.
According to Automotive News, GM will meet with the union this week to discuss the automaker’s plans to stop producing cars at the Oshawa site, which has been building GM products since 1908. It’s not clear which GM execs will be attendance, with the automaker saying it meets with Unifor often and does not “discuss those meetings externally.”
Employees at the plant also complete final assembly on Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups destined for sale in the area, which arrive at the plant half-finished from GM’s pickup plant in Indiana. The pickup program is slated to end next year as well.
But while the outlook is bleak, Unifor isn’t giving up. Unifor leader Jerry Dias vowed to stop GM from leaving Canada and also said he would make the automaker regret leaving the country. “GM is leaving Canada, and we’re not going to let them,” Dias told Canada’s CTV News. “We are going to waste General Motors over the next year. Waste them.”
GM Canada president David Paterson recognized union members had “strong opinions” about the automaker’s decision to leave but also said the company’s focus was on helping workers where it could as the automaker prepares to shut down shop in the southern Ontario town.
“We have an obligation and duty to work with our union to determine — in addition to our pensions and the income supplements our employees will get — what things we can provide,” Paterson told CTV.
He also said GM wanted to help displaced workers find new employment, with two companies, Ontario Power Generation and local construction firm Aecon, approaching GM Canada looking for skilled workers.
“They have huge needs in terms of millwrights, boiler makers, electricians and a number of areas where our employees are especially suited to that type of work and have great experience,” Paterson said.
Unifor has set up a webpage and started a campaign called ‘Save Oshawa GM‘ to help further its cause. The website says there is “no justification whatsoever” for closing down plants like Oshawa and that “any plans that result in Oshawa being ‘unallocated’ next year are completely contrary to the binding commitments made by GM in our 2016 negotiations with the company.”
The GM-Unifor meeting is schedule for December 20th. Stay tuned to GM Authority for more Oshawa Assembly Plant news as the discussions approach.