Back in December, the last vehicle produced at the General Motors Oshawa Assembly plant rolled off the line. The moment marked an end to more than century of vehicle manufacturing in the southern Ontario town following GM’s decision to shutter the plant and put thousands of people out of work. Now, a new documentary called Company Town takes a look at the dark last days of the GM Oshawa Assembly plant and the effect that its closure had on workers and the surrounding community.
Late in November of 2018, General Motors announced that it would close the Oshawa Assembly plant. In response, Unifor, the union which represented workers there, released a statement that it would not accept GM’s decision. Unifor president Jerry Dias addressed a crowd of concerned workers, saying that “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,” Dias said, adding, “So we will do anything by any means to make sure they they live up to their word.”
General Motors took over the Oshawa Assembly plant in 1954, and at its peak, the facility employed upwards of 23,000 people. The facility previously built the Chevy Impala, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Sierra.
In addition to employing workers directly, some of whom were the fourth generation of their family to work there, the plant also indirectly supported thousands of jobs in the adjacent community, with the Toronto Sun reporting that nine additional local jobs were directly connected to each factory job.
Despite negotiations, General Motors did end up closing the production line, while retaining around 300 jobs for parts production and metal stamping. The property is also slated for autonomous vehicle testing.
However, for workers and the local community, the plant closure was nothing less than devastating, as seen in this new film.
Check out the Company Town trailer in the video below: