General Motors Oshawa plant workers stage sit-down strike

Jerry Dias

Union head to discuss fate of GM Oshawa plant - 680 NEWS

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.

GM stunned the North American auto industry in late November when it announced a major restructuring plan that will see up to 14,000 workers in North America lose their jobs, almost 3,000 of which are in the Oshawa Assembly Plant.

Dias said the US$22-million annual salary of company CEO Mary Barra is greater than the entire payroll of one assembly plant in Mexico.

"We're looking at tens of thousands of jobs and a direct hit to the GDP", said Unifor president Jerry Dias in a statement. The workers are reacting to their National Unifor Union President Jerry Dias attempting to get GM executives to reconsider their plan to shut down that plant by the end of this year.

After he returned from the meeting with GM, Dias told reporters in a press conference in Windsor, Ontario, that the union was looking at its legal options regarding whether the Detroit company violated the labor contract. He added how the Canadian governments and taxpayers also provided $11 billion in subsidies to GM at a time when it faced near bankruptcy a decade ago.

GM also has not allocated new products for four USA plants, raising the possibility of their closure and the elimination of a total of about 15,000 jobs in North America. "GM today has not only picked a fight with Unifor, but picked a fight with all of Canada". "And yet Oshawa has grown and people live there and they all have jobs".

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Those would include 4,400 jobs at GM Oshawa and its parts suppliers in Ontario that would be lost in 2020 as well as lost direct and indirect opportunities from keeping the assembly plant open for an additional five years. A large rally is planned in Windsor on Friday.

Since GM's announcement, Unifor has launched an extensive public relations campaign, demanding GM save the Oshawa plant.

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

"Workers are no wreturning to the line with production expected to resume shortly", read a second release.

"We're going to continue to have discussions with them about solutions", Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, the union that represents workers at the plant, said after meeting with GM officials at the No. 1 USA automaker's Detroit headquarters.

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