General Motors rejects Unifor proposals to keep the Oshawa plant open

Jerry Dias

Jerry Dias

"It's about corporate greed", said Dias. "And a lack of an acknowledgement of the role of not only Canadian workers but American workers, in the success of General Motors".

Dias alleged company officials had "acknowledged they could continue to build the programs that are now in place in Oshawa", and keeping the plant open "wouldn't hurt the company's bottom line".

"The reality is General Motors will only understand if Canadians push them in the decisions they are making", Dias said.

GM officials said they responded to Unifor proposals from December and invited the union to begin constructive discussions on transition strategies and supports for Oshawa Assembly workers who may elect to either retire or pursue new careers following their work for GM.

The union says buses are being organized from cities across Ontario to bring thousands of auto workers to protest the decision with GM's headquarters as the backdrop. "That's the only acceptable solution as we stand here today".

Dias previously promised "one hell of a fight" to prevent the Oshawa plant's closure.

While GM is shutting its Oshawa plant, it's not leaving Canada entirely. The union has planned a rally in Windsor, Ont. Friday to coincide with a GM investor update. Dias said Tuesday that the campaign will continue and will be "significant".

"They have the ability to keep a product in Oshawa which is an award-winning facility", he said. "This is a daunting time to watch a company which has been in this country for 100 years turn around and do this".

When asked if the union would consider litigation against the company like the United Auto Workers in the U.S., Dias said they are considering their legal options.

"In our history, Chrysler has never approached what GM keeps doing to us time and time again", he said.

The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.

Colin James, president of Unifor Local 222 in Oshawa, speaks to the media with Unifor national leader Jerry Dias on Tuesday at the Unifor Local 444/200 hall following their meeting with General Motors executives in Detroit.

GM officials have said the fate of the US plants is subject to talks with the United Auto Workers union, which represents the USA workers at those plants.

Oshawa's closure, which GM said would affect 2,973 assembly-line jobs, was announced in November as part of a broad restructuring aimed at cutting costs as investments increase in electric and autonomous vehicles.

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