General Motors workers at its Oshawa Assembly plant in southern Ontario staged a sit-in protest yesterday over the automaker’s decision to close the plant this year, but returned to work later in the day.
The protest, which lasted about two hours, brought work to a halt at the plant – the second time workers have stopped the assembly line since GM announced it would end production at the site and layoff all 4,400 of its employees. Workers also staged a five-hour sit-in protest at the plant Tuesday night.
The buzzers are sounding in the Oshawa Assembly Plant tonight because the line is down. Workers are protesting @GM and it’s betrayal of Canadian workers and consumers after it rejected Unifor’s proposed solutions to #SaveOshawaGM today. #canlab pic.twitter.com/m07KVqCdCe
— Unifor Canada (@UniforTheUnion) January 9, 2019
President of the Canadian labor union representing GM Oshawa workers, Gerry Dias, met with GM in Detroit Tuesday and attempted to bargain with GM to keep the plant open past 2019, but was rejected. In a letter to Unifor, GM said its various proposals “would involve substantial incremental costs and a further deterioration of GM’s competitive position. It also said they “would not combat the declining economic and market factors that must be addressed.”
The automaker later sent out a release encouraging the union, Unifor, to work with GM to help find new work for displaced GM employees. It also pointed out in the letter that is has “committed millions of dollars to help support training for job opportunities for Oshawa Assembly workers,” and has identified nearby companies that may be interested in hiring skilled tradespeople.
Unifor’s proposals included extending the life of the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS for five years or moving production previously allocated to Mexico to Oshawa. The union was hoping to convince GM to keep the plant open for five more years.
The closure of the Oshawa site will also mean fewer jobs at suppliers and other businesses nearby, according to Canadian economic experts. As many as 14,000 jobs in Ontario could be lost by 2025 as a result of GM’s manufacturing withdrawal, along with a further 10,000 outside of the province.
Photo via Unifor on Twitter