Oshawa Consolidated Line Looks Set To Remain Closed As CAW Talks Drag On

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
oshawa consolidated line looks set to remain closed as caw talks drag on

The Windsor Star is reporting that the CAW “has all but given up” on trying to re-open the Oshawa Consolidated line that was closed earlier this year. The Star quotes CAW President Ken Lewenza as saying

“We’re going to keep raising it until the deal is done…But the reality is vehicle production is based on market and market is based on capacity and GM told us they don’t need the capacity.”

The Consolidated line, which built the Chevrolet Impala, and handled some Chevrolet Equinox production, was shuttered as GM sent production of the two vehicles to the United States, where labor costs are cheap (drastically so, in the case of the Tennessee plant which will now build the Equinox).

The CAW is hoping to secure “restructuring benefits”, such as buyouts, for the 2,000 workers on the line. GM apparently promised to abide by the terms of the 2009 bailout, which states that 16 percent of their North American production must remain in Canada – the closing of the Consolidated line means that GM would only be at 13 percent, leaving open the question of where the extra capacity will come from.

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  • Mikey Mikey on Sep 20, 2012

    @28-Cars-Later As of right now, Oshawa consolidated runs 3 shifts Impala. With the Equinox gone, we lose third shift in October, afternoons is axed in mid January,an the plant closes June? Just to put into perspective. It looks like we may get a third on the flex line. That would put Oshawa hourly head count around 3200? I started in 1972 head count was 20,000.

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    • Mikey Mikey on Sep 20, 2012

      @tresmonos...3200 was my guesstimate. I was figuring, with a third shift, and a thousand a shift,inclucing trades. Oshawa does have a contigous stamping plant.So add a couple of hundred? 3200 might be a bit high?

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Sep 20, 2012

    The thing is that GM isn't selling these things, thankfully. It would be nice if they would pull the consolidated and put in a flexline. Oshawa's rep is second to none. We need to keep it going.

  • Naif Naif on Sep 20, 2012

    Not to worry Canada. GM can build it in China with the bailout money and keep the big shots here at home and overpay them.

  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Sep 20, 2012

    The CAW, in its usual boneheaded fashion, is determined to have the auto industry's highest paid unemployed members. Ken Lewenza doesn't know or won't acknowledge his world has changed. He can't bully private sector employers anymore. They'll keep packing up their stuff and leaving. The money the taxpayers paid to save their butts will be lost. Watch for the American brand automakers to transfer more operations to U.S. and Mexican plants until there's nothing left. In ten years they'll all be gone. When the last unionista walks out of the last unionized Canadian auto plant the union bosses will still have their jobs and perks, and Lewenza will blame Prime Minister Harper.

    • Sunridge place Sunridge place on Sep 20, 2012

      Staying away from Canadian politics and Union actions with this question...but I see this often lately..to paraphrase many: 'Everyone is going to move to Mexico for auto production' GM used the bankruptcy to move quicker in making their manufacturing footprint smaller and more right-sized to their market share. That was one of a dozen or so reasons why they went under in the first place...they had capacity for a far greater market share than reality over the last decade(s) before 2009. And closing plants and 'laying off' UAW workers was very difficult. Especially the 'laying off' part when there was a job bank. Pretty sure Ford/Chrysler/GM are much closer to the type of factory utilization needed for long term profitability as well. From my point of view, the only car companies who might even consider adding factories (after they absolutely max out every ounce of capacity in their existing footprint) in North America are: 1. Non-Union Japanese companies looking to move production away from Japan 2. Non-Union Hyundai/Kia who seems production constrained to grow much more 3. Non-Union VW who has grand plans to grow, grow, grow in the US. That said, those companies above aren't involved with the CAW or UAW. For GM, not giving a replacement product for Oshawa Consolidated is more a matter of sending a potential product to an existing factory in the US or maybe Mexico. But, what sort of new product even is in the pipeline that isn't spoken for as far as production? There just aren't a lot of new frontiers in the US market. I think GM has some capacity in Mexico since they stopped the HHR and only replaced it with the Captiva (much lower production #'s) but I really don't know I just don't see Ford/GM/Chrysler building factories anytime soon. Its far smarter for those 3 to work at being profitable within their market share in the fractured (and non-growth) US market than be so bold to build a new factory. What segments are the US 2.5 not in that would require a new factory to meet production needs? Given that labor is somewhere around 10% of the cost of a vehicle, would it really make sense to mothball an existing factory and spend a few hundred million to build a new factory just to save a bit of money in final assembly?