By on June 9, 2016

GM Oshawa Plant Closure

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.

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20 Comments on “Dias: ‘Oh, There Will Be’ a Strike if Oshawa Not Allocated Future Products...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “If you don’t give us cars to work on later, then we’re not working on them!”

    -Union

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The hand writing is on the wall, and the only thing a long term strike will do is accelerate the shut down. I have huge empathy for the workers, and Oshawa has an amazing legacy as being a top manufacturing center in North America. But the party is coming to an end there, it is what it is.

    Sometimes you need to fight the fight and sometimes you need to pack it in and make a graceful exit.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “expected to announce 1,000 engineering jobs”

    Shoulda gone to skoo-wul. Gotdamn hormones!

    Being born working class at fin de siecle industriel through the Spaghetti Monster’s perversity doesn’t excuse ignoring your brain cells.

    And it sure doesn’t make doing so hurt any less.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Doctor

      Not everybody is cut out to be an engineer and overproducing them would only drive down wages. Education has a huge impact, but by saturating the market with advanced degrees they become devalued.

      Unskilled labor is going away as automation and the availability of low cost foreign labor markets increase. Outside of truck production, Oshawa produces large sedans (which are becoming less and less popular) and the Equinox.

      GM could retool Oshawa, but when compared to the relatively cheap cost of transit and foreign governments that will give major subsidies for building plants overseas it might not be the most cost effective option.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      If you’re not majoring in a STEM degree, you’re comment is just as useless as most college majors.

      FYI I really f*cking hate comments like yours that down plays import value added roles in our economy (if you can’t tell). I think they’re ignorant.

      All aboard the race to the bottom.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        So have the kids, buy the house, boat, skijet, cars, bikes, quads.. etc. trusting in corporate happy talk while identical plants all around the country are shuttering?

        *buzz*

        This is kind of making me nostalgic.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    If GM is looking for an excuse to close the plant then striking may not be the best approach for the workers to take.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Its just Sabre Rattling on UNIFOR’s part. It don’t mean squat. Jerry D, is just making noise before, before negotiations begin. The tactic is as old as the tides, and somewhat dated.

    General Motors has been making it perfectly clear, that without a deal , there will be no product allocation . UNIFOR jumps in and says “we don’t make a deal without product allocation”

    Chicken or the Egg ??

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Your insight – as usual – is helpful.

      Perhaps UNIFOR ought to focus on scoring the best severence/retraining package for when Judgment Day comes.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Just to set the record straight . I pretty sure the Cami plant is under a different contract.. Im not sure exactly how a labour dispute in St Catherines would impact Cami operations

  • avatar
    seth1065

    SO let’s see GM more than likely would like to close this plane as it is in a high cost area with high cost older employees and the union management is drawing a line in the sand. I do not see this as being helpful when they sit down to hammer out a contract, perhaps remind GM that Canadian taxpayers help bail you out and you have a greta plant here w good workers lets work together to find a way to make cars here long term. Guess that is not gonna happen, but enjoy the saber rattling Jerry.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I think the union is being very considerate of GM management’s feelings by going on strike. It would probably be hard for whoever has to make the call to kill the factory to sleep at night, were it not for the union striking in the face of redundancy.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “It would probably be hard for whoever has to make the call to kill the factory to sleep at night”

      I think it boils down to if the plant is profitable or if it is redundant. The Board will decide that based on recommendations from the CFO.

      A Corporation is not some benevolent entity that eagerly loses money just to keep some of its employees living the high-life.

      In the end, a Corporation will always decide in favor of shareholder profits.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    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.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    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!

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      tomLU86,
      I do think it is more than just the two tier wage system.

      TTAC has done a number of article relating to this plant and the money that has been “invested” in it from both sides.

      The union and workers must realise that good money just can’t be getting dumped into the plant. It must become profitable.

      Also, from what I’ve read no promises have really been made to keep the plant open. Most of the chatter and talk regarding Oshawa was really only short to medium term.

      This tells me that GM really don’t want this blister of a plant.

      The Canadian taxpayer should not be subsidising a free market business. For what reason? To save a couple of thousand jobs? So far hundreds and hundres of millions have been spent on this plant.

  • avatar
    shaker

    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.

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