By on July 16, 2015

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible at the Oshawa Assembly Plant

The former mayor of Oshawa, John Gray, is telling Canadians to boycott General Motors if the automotive giant pulls the plug on the Camaro at its plant north of the border, the Toronto Sun is reporting.

“That’s the type of pressure that is applied so that GM comes to its senses and maintains production in Oshawa after next year,” Gray told the newspaper this week.

General Motors said it would end production of the Chevrolet Camaro at the Oshawa Car Assembly plant and move production to Michigan on Nov. 20. Gray said the move would end about 1,000 jobs at the plant, and dim the prospects of an already bleak future for the plant.

Increasing energy costs and other factors are driving automakers out of the area, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne told Toronto reporters last week.

Local workers say the move would devastate the local economy.

“It doesn’t just affect General Motors, it affects the entire community. For every job inside, it affects seven jobs outside,” Chris Black, a worker at the Oshawa plant, told CTV.

Gray said GM is indebted to Canadians after the auto bailouts.

“Canadian taxpayers bailed out GM Canada, allowing it to survive. Recently, the federal and provincial governments have sold their shares in the company … Now they have no say over the company.

“Canadian taxpayers lost $3 billion on the sales of the shares. And now GM doesn’t plan on having a presence here. That’s a pretty compelling story.”

GM Canada announced in late April that the company would hire 100 software and control engineers for future connected vehicle endeavors. However, it won’t be until next year that GM will announce its plans for the assembly facilities.

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32 Comments on “Former Oshawa Mayor: Boycott GM if Jobs are Lost...”


  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Looks like Oshawa is finished; and so is Unifor.

  • avatar
    darex

    Not a problem. I have been boycotting them for decades. ;-)

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    I started boycotting GM a few years ago on a personal basis . We should not have bailed them out as they are still operating as they always have been . The canadian taxpayers bailed GM out as well as the US taxpayer and now they are getting the shaft for their trouble . They will have most of their production in Mexico , China and Korea in the next 5 to 10 years building the same overpriced crap and flying the american flag in front of their dealerships. What a Company

  • avatar
    Toad

    Advocating a boycott of GM means that Oshawa leaders have run out of ideas, carrots, and sticks. Now they are just making noise.

    It really is too bad for Oshawa, but they join thousands of other towns that have lost manufacturing jobs. People used to complain about dead end factory jobs in dirty industries…until those jobs started going away.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The only competitive vehicles GM makes are designed and/or built in Germany or Korea. Full stop.

    Even then, in stating these few vehicles are competitive, does not imply that they are reliable and/or durable.

    Even the new C7 Vette, which I had probably prematurely, mistakenly opined was a good, and maybe even great car, appears to now be on a motor overheating/heat soak (base C7), or worse yet, grenading bender (Z06), especially when driven at anything more than 5/10ths.

    GM is as incompetent, as serially mismanaged, and as FUBAR a company, chock full of the malignant gross incompetence, as it was prior to its toxic colon cleansing, prepackaged bankruptcy (thank you taxpayers).

    Just sell GM to the Koreans or Chinese for the highest bid, change the name to Guangzhou Motors, and keep the Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian & Indian factories humming along, churning out toxic effluent.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    What about CAMI and St. Catherines? Is it a good idea to boycott an employer that still has two manufacturing facilities in the country?

  • avatar

    I wonder what it would cost to produce in China or India, someplace where $3 per hour is great, worker protections nonexistent, and the environment is your bitch to pollute ? What does it cost for your car to cross the Pacific ?

    Well paid car workers pay taxes, buy stuff, and participate in the economy. The serfs overseas don’t, at least here.

    I just professionally dealt with a person whose 50 person medical billing department, here in Westchester, NY just got outsourced to India. I’m sure the docs who own the medical group will enjoy that second beach house. What really got me is that they won’t give recommendation letters, for “liability reasons”. Bastards.

    Likewise, I have a friend in Advertising. He told me his basic first out of school layout job no longer exists…his agency fired the US worker, and in India, via computer, the layouts for the US market ads are done.

    GRRRR

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      I am sorry that you are upset, but this is just basic capitalism. The only allegiance that a corporation has, is to it’s stockholders. A corporation has no responsibility to it’s workers. A corporation that tries to take care of it’s workers can face a lawsuit by the stockholders for wasting money. The management of a corporation must be continually cutting costs and boosting revenue. If they are not doing this, they are wasting the stockholders money. The only course allowed for corporation management is short term gains over all else. Long term thinking is not allowed. It might interfere with short term gains. Like I said at the beginning. It is just basic capitalism.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        How did renouncing your US citizenship and moving to that Mexican fishing village affect your retired rank status?

        Are you now simply Mr. Obvious?

        • 0 avatar
          Charliej

          Just pointing out that no one should ever expect a corporation to give a damn if they live or die. As to the rest, I am enjoying life to the fullest in my little village. Much better than back in the US. Thanks for thinking about me though.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        “. The only allegiance that a corporation has, is to it’s (sic) stockholders. A corporation has no responsibility to it’s (sic) workers. 

        Thank you so much for explaining why we have had ad campaigns urging us to “buy American” or “buy Canadian” in the past. Companies play whatever game they can to further their own financial causes. I rank them right up there with politicians of any stripe. Appeals to patriotism when it suits, total lack of interest when it doesn’t.

        So, if GM doesn’t give a damn about Canada, why should we give a damn about buying their junk? They’re already in third place here. If there’s no give-and-take, the feeling becomes mutual, that’s all the ex-mayor is saying, and I agree with him. I cannot think of a single vehicle made by GM that Canadians actually “need”. Plenty of better alternatives.

        • 0 avatar
          Car-los

          The lesson, here not only for Canadians but for every body, is that when a business is on the verge of bankruptcy it should be left to go down by it’s own wight. In the short term is tough and difficult but in the long term it keeps the economy healthier, there is less wasted resources (in this case Canadians taxes) and the businesses that survive will be stronger and healthier.

          An economy based on subsidies and bailouts doesn’t normally help any body, apart of course from corrupt politicians and their pay masters…

          • 0 avatar
            Veee8

            Boycott – there’s always Kathleen who will throw some borrowed money at courting GM to stay, what’s the price?…500M 1.25B?,…I’m so damn cynical and tired of the game the older I get.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          wmba,
          GM cares as much about Quebecistan as it does about A’stralya, or for that matter the US. GM cares about profit, this is called business.

          Once the government stops providing sufficient taxpayer subsidies the company will leave.

          Using your approach is quite inane in concept. You are prepared to drive a company out of business because the government isn’t providing enough industrial welfare to support your socialist paradigms??

          I could not of expect much different from an extreme left wing person such as yourself.

          F#$k the workers in Canada, is your approach. A real supportor of the Canadian worker you are, or an elitist left winger.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Actually corporatism advocates that. Capitalism at it’s basic form makes no argument about that.

        But that’s besides the point, my argument to you is why should we accept that? It sounds like a failure of society to protect themselves from exploitation. Sounds like it’s time to change our economic system…

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      @speedlaw:

      “I’m sure the docs who own the medical group will enjoy that second beach house.”

      OK, the docs and management will benefit. But so will health care CUSTOMERS. Lower admin, billing, and compliance costs are good for health care, right?

      “What really got me is that they won’t give recommendation letters, for “liability reasons”. ”

      Thank the NY Legislature, especially Sheldon Silver. The People's Republic of NY's labor laws are what they are… Recommendation Letters have become a liability minefield because of NY Laws and their interpretation.

      OT: I know NY's insane labor laws have gutted it's manufacturing competitiveness compared to Normal America.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “Lower admin, billing, and compliance costs are good for health care, right?”

        Those lower costs will have no impact on the care, and the probable slide in quality will put even the cost savings into doubt. Any actual savings will only accrue to the owners of the practice and/or insurance carriers.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          Capitalism requires that the welfare of the shareholders be of primary concern… the welfare of the workers is the concern of the government (the people).

        • 0 avatar
          ihatetrees

          Lower prices for insurers will result in lower rates for their customers.

          By all means, feel free to base YOUR choice of doctors on where their billing and compliance is done. Just don’t use the force of government to make my choices a felony.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Lower prices for insurers will result in lower rates for their customers.”

            Not necessarily. When oil came down, did airline tickets come down accordingly? Gas at the pump? How about food prices?

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        This presumes that any savings are realized long-term if the Indian billing center has problems and drives patients away AND the doctors lower their service cost. Most likely they’re going to pocket the difference as income and not invest it in new equipment or better services.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    This was a decision made when the Canadian dollar was worth more than the USD. I know someone that worked internally for GM and she said it was laughable at how badly the place was run – the rumors are indeed true. The incompetence in that place is crazy…

  • avatar
    mikey

    Like most politico’s, up to and including Union leadership, Gray is telling the electorate, what they want to hear.

    From where is sit here, in the heart of Oshawa, I can count four GM dealers within 10 miles. Everyone of them has gone through major renovations in the last two years. I shudder to think of their “debt load”

    I have said it before, and I will say it again. GM Oshawa will not close the doors.

    We have a general election coming up. The UAW and the former “big three, will settle. Come about mid November GM will announce the future plans.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    When a city allows itself to become economically dependent, not just on a single industry, but on ONE company within that industry, most of the blame for becoming a ghost town should lie squarely on the city government for being so short-sighted.

    See Flint, MI for further details.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Ghost Town…? Really, just going through the listings here. Two bedroom bungalow built in the 60’s. 1000 sq ft..350 K . 2 yr old 2500 sq ft …650 K.. Older fixer upper semi detached 210 K. Take 22 percent off to convert to USD. Still, not too shabby.

    Oshawa has evolved into a bedroom community. New Malls, new schools, Two new 4 lane highways.

    If GM closed the doors, it may put a little dent in the local economy, but not near the impact it would have had 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      This is the truth. It’s like if Ford closed Chicago Assembly (they aren’t). It wouldn’t hurt the economy of the Greater Chicago Area. Oshawa does not equal Lordstown, OH.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I find it odd that GM gets so much hate. They’re a long way from being perfect, but its almost like the N54 HPFP BMW problem doesn’t exist.

    I own a 15 year old GM product which is in better qualitative shape then a family owned BMW made five years later. Unlike my dad,I can still get into my car from both the driver and the passenger side.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    It’s a slow-motion goodbye for the Ontario auto industry. Noncompetitive electricity, labor and environmental costs are driving manufacturers out. The government’s just announced cap ‘n trade carbon tax is the last straw, a tax too far.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree to a great extent with the many well thought comments on this thread.

      1) In Ontario electricity rates should be low. For much of the 20th century they were. Incompetent management, the ill advised attempt to privatize Ontario Hydro (and then break it up) and the enormous waste and extended costs associated with nuclear power have all conspired to destroy this. My employer is a manufacturer in Ontario and the cost of electricity has become a major concern. Why do some American states import electricity from Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland) at a lower rate than the locals in the generating area pay?

      2) Oshawa’s economy has diversified. Expansion of the health care infrastructure. Expansion of Durham College. The creation of the University of Ontario (Institute of Technology) have all greatly contributed. Public money spent on infrastructure once again proves to be of long term economic benefit.

      3) As badly run and managed as GM Oshawa was (and is) it still has high quality assembly. Thankfully on this forum nobody has blamed the assembly workers for the deficiencies associated with GM’s design and parts.

      4) Money has no loyalty. Corporations exist only to make a profit. “The capitalists will sell us the very rope that we use to hang them”. All true.

      5) Based on #4 how can 1st world workers compete with 3rd world workers, toiling under indentured servitude, under corrupt overlords with little to no occupational health & safety, environmental or employment standards controls? In fact, why do we even bother to attempt to trade and compete with them?

      Hopefully I have retained enough privilege to be able to keep my Oshawa assembled Buick (with the 3800 engine) running for at least another decade.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Agreed Gardiner…Sergio M. mentioned just the other day, how tough it is to do operate in Ontario. We have only ourselves to blame, we gave a majority government, to these morons.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I wonder if GM would even notice.

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