The Canadian union Unifor is calling for an outright boycott of any Mexican-built General Motors vehicles as the union fights to save the Oshawa Assembly Plant, according to The Detroit News. The union will advertise the boycott with a media blitz, purchasing ads on TV, in print, and on billboards. It’s just the latest in a tit-for-tat between the union and the Detroit Automaker.
“GM is arrogant to the point they think they can close our assembly plants while ramping up production in Mexico,” Unifor President Jerry Dias told the News. “While GM has choices, Canadian and American consumers also have choices.”
Unifor hopes the boycott will grab GM’s attention and bring the automaker back to the negotiating table; however, it appears GM isn’t open to continuing negotiations. Earlier this month, GM rejected Unifor’s offer to keep the Oshawa factory open, instead suggesting the union begin employee transition efforts. The company also said the boycott could have unintended consequences for workers at Canadian suppliers.
“The threat of collateral damage for Ontario based auto suppliers, auto dealers and workers is concerning, especially for an Ontario economy that is now open for business, with every opportunity to now benefit from increased trade with Mexico,” GM Canada vice president David Paterson said in the statement.
Unifor’s hostility toward General Motors started after the automaker announced a massive restructuring plan that proposed to not only close five North American factories by the end of 2019, but discontinue several models such as the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala, and lay off thousands of blue- and white-collar employees. Oshawa employees have walked off the line, held sit-in protests, and protested the automaker at the Detroit waterfront.
While Unifor is calling for the boycott, the U.S. United Auto Workers union is not joining in that effort. A UAW spokesperson told the News the union was unaware of Unifor’s boycott. However, Dias has a meeting scheduled with UAW President Gary Jones early next month to discuss the boycott.
Since the Oshawa assembly plant was announced to close, General Motors has announced several vehicles to be built in the United States. These include the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD, the 2020 GMC Sierra HD, and the 2020 Cadillac XT6. Unifor has not called for a boycott on any of these vehicles.