Dias: 'Oh, There Will Be' a Strike If Oshawa Not Allocated Future Products
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the union that represents workers at Detroit Three operations in Canada, has stated in no uncertain terms there will be a strike if Oshawa is not given a mandate to produce vehicles beyond 2017, reports the Financial Post.
The latest barb comes before a scheduled press conference this Friday when General Motors Canada is expected to announce 1,000 engineering jobs for the company’s connected and driverless vehicle research and development.
President of GM Canada, Steve Carlisle, has openly stated not to expect a decision on Oshawa’s future until after the conclusion of labor negotiations, but Dias isn’t taking it any longer.
From the Financial Post:
“The reality is that unless we have a solution for Oshawa, there will not be an agreement,” said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, the union that represents GM Canada’s workers.
When asked if there could be a strike if no new vehicles are brought to Oshawa, Dias said, “Oh, there will be.”
The Financial Post states there are 2,500 blue-collar jobs on the line at Oshawa Car Assembly in Oshawa, Ontario. The plant, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac XTS, recently lost 1,000 jobs when Camaro production moved to Michigan.
Dias didn’t specify if Unifor members would strike just in Oshawa or at all GM Canada plants, which include GM’s CAMI facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, and an engine plant in St. Catherines, Ontario.
Stick a fork in it, GM Oshawa Assembly is done. Ontario's manufacturing industries are dead men walking due to high electricity, heating and realty tax costs, intransigent unions that enjoy favorable labor laws and enforcement, and the prospect of oppressive carbon and pension taxes.
I'm not a big fan of unions - in the private sector, yeah, I guess if you want to; in the public sector, they are just a captive constituency who bids out to the highest bidder like corporate welfare and bad for the body politic - but, it is what it is, this was the deal. Oshawa, Ontario, and Canada all put money into the bailout. All I've got left: Sorry, guys. Flint sends its love. GM was always a pump and dump kind of lover, but you deserved better!
Unions have some pros and some (probably more) cons. It's not a perfect world. It's relatively easy to calculate wage costs. It's harder to calculate the benefits (fewer defects, higher productivity) of a good work force. I'm an American, but by objective measures (productivity-hours per vehicle, quality-JD Powers and other surveys), GM's Canadian workforce has always been in the top 5% to top 40%. The Canadian govt AND Ontario helped bail out GM. Lest we forget, no govt bailouts (US, CAN, and Ontario) a few years ago, no GM today. So, if GM's reason to close these plants simply because they are unwilling to adopt a 2-tier wage system strikes me as a poor business decision on many levels. The labor expense of vehicle assembly is relatively minor. The cost of poorly manufactured cars to a company's reputation is hard to measure, but can be huge.
The next-gen Equinox and its hybrid version - why not build them there? I mean, the 'nox "on paper" doesn't quite measure up to the rest of the pack, but its longer wheelbase, adjustable rear seat, and general handling/ride quality seems to make a lot of buyers happy. However, if the new one loses these particular assets, it may not compete.