By on June 8, 2016

GM Oshawa Plant Closure

Yesterday, General Motors issued a release stating it will announce big news in Oshawa on Friday. According to The Star, that announcement will include 1,000 new jobs at GM’s engineering center, which now focuses on driverless and connected vehicles.

However, the announcement comes as uncertainty swirls around GM’s Oshawa Car Assembly Plant, a facility that many analysts believe is slated for closure.

Oshawa, once home to a truck plant and Camaro production, now builds the Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Impala Limited, Chevrolet Equinox, Buick Regal, and Cadillac XTS. GM Canada refuses to make any commitments to Oshawa until labor negotiations conclude this summer.

It’s been rumored that Regal production will move to Germany when the next-generation model bows in 2017. The XTS is slated to end production in 2019. That leaves just the Chevrolet Impala, which is also built in Hamtramck, Michigan, and Chevrolet Equinox, which is also built in Ingersoll, Ontario and Spring Hill, Tennessee, at Oshawa Car Assembly beyond 2019. Production of the Chevrolet Impala Limited, a previous-generation model only sold to fleets, ends this month.

At a meeting in London, Ontario last week, Unifor, the union that represents employees working at Detroit Three facilities in Ontario, announced its main focus going into this year’s collective bargaining.

“When we get into bargaining, the number one priority will be maintaining and expanding the footprint of the industry in Canada,” said Chris Taylor, Chair of the Auto Council and the President of Local 200 at the Ford engine plant in Windsor.

“That was the unanimous decision of our members here today.”

The 120 union delegates also agreed to focus on “specific investment mandates for Canada for assembly and powertrain operations,” Unifor stated in the release. The union would not elaborate when asked multiple times by TTAC for details.

Oshawa Assembly is one of two main battleground plants going into this year’s collective bargaining. Fiat-Chrysler’s Brampton plant, which produces the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger, is also rumored to close.

That’s not to say General Motors isn’t investing in Ontario in other ways.

In April, GM purchased a parcel of land in downtown Toronto from a film studio. The land is expected to be converted into a multi-use facility that will house Cadillac’s Canadian HQ and the Toronto GM Mobility Campus.

Last August, GM announced a small investment in Oshawa Assembly’s Consolidated Line to increase Equinox production, though a larger percentage of that investment went to GM’s Ingersoll plant.

GM could be investing in engineering in Oshawa as a way to placate local residents and governments, which bailed out GM to the tune of $10.8 billion, ahead of a future assembly plant closure.

Former Oshawa mayor John Gray encouraged Canadians to boycott GM if the company eliminates more jobs in Oshawa. The current mayor of the city is a bit more optimistic.

“The only thing I can say is that I’ll be attending the announcement on Friday morning,” mayor John Henry told The Star. “And I’m always keen about the excitement of a General Motors announcement in Oshawa.”

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14 Comments on “What Will GM Announce This Friday in Oshawa?...”


  • avatar
    mikey

    From point of view , as an hourly , retiree GM Oshawa, ,anything positive at this time is welcome news.

    So UNIFOR won’t talk to TTAC ? Not to worry , thier not tipping thier hand to anybody , including the membership. GM is equally mum.

    I spent 36+ years on the plant floor! and I’ve been out for 7 and a half.. I can usually predict the outcome of negotiations , with some degree of accuracy. This one has me baffled

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Mikey – In November of 1989 Oshawa built the ’90 C1500 I bought new years ago. That was probably the best built vehicle I’d owned and I drove it 275k miles (it’s still being used down south of Dayton, Ohio, by another owner). I thank you and all of your fellow workers for a job damn well done.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Thank you ….We were devastated , when they closed our” award winning” Truck plant.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        I have a 94 Silverado extended cab that I bought new and still have with almost 200,000 miles. It was built at this plant also. I agree about the excellent build quality. Still no rattles in the interior and the original paint still looks very good. I also have a 2007 Impala built at this plant. I bought it new, and the quality is also good.

    • 0 avatar
      TheBlueSoap

      My stepfather worked at GM Oshawa for around the same length of time,retired from working K dock. If GM pulls out of the shwa,it will hurt greatly.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Someone posted on here yesterday that Canadians are pretty tolerant of Chinese-made goods. Much more so than xenophobic Americans. So if the plant closes and production moves to China or Mexico, it’ll be in the name of globalization and will bring cheaper vehicles to you as a benefit that outweighs the loss of a few jobs mostly filled by the less-educated anyway. I wouldn’t worry about it.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “Xenophobic”? This is about “foreign cars”, not “foreign people”. Except the marketplace sets the price of cars, regardless of what they cost to build. Otherwise no cars would ever sell at a loss.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            Learn your neoconservative talking points please. Anybody opposed to free trade is xenophobic.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      mikey,
      I am always happy to see your posts on TTAC. I hope you’re doing as well as you can.

      As for Oshawa, I hope the site survives. I’ve grown numb to closed down manufacturing sites in the textile and rust belt.

      I know the drive for making capital as efficient as possible, but there is something to be said about corporate responsibility to your customer’s community. That variable unit cost is what gives it back.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I spent my last 11 years, as a Dock Tech……

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Mikey, still cruising about 100 miles a day in my 2012 Impala LTZ – 93,000 miles and counting, not yet four years old!

      I’ll be joining you in retirement in 9 months, so I figure I’ll have somewhere around 125-130K on the clock then.

      Oshawa built me a pretty nice ride, only two issues to date, a front engine cover occasional drip that GM fixed back in December and a purge valve two months ago – my treat this time, but not much.

      Yes, I still love this car, and I’m sure I’m in the minority on here about loving a W-body, but that’s OK.

  • avatar
    abitolder

    A month or so ago the President of GM Canada wrote an OpEd in the Globe and Mail newspaper and on the GM Canada website as linked:

    http://media.gm.com/media/ca/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/ca/en/2016/Apr/0426_SteveCarlisleOPED.html

    Walk ( or Drive ) the Talk

    Interesting opinions expressed about the future of the automotive business by Stephen Carlisle, President of General Motors Canada Company.

    Mr. Carlisle refers to the great changes coming to the automotive industry. But as a President and CEO of a company his job must surely be to grow jobs in Canada that provide futures for Canadians, not only to look for corporate profits. It started with workers on the assembly line that helped grow our communities, they would purchase homes and have children, these children would go to school and learn. Teachers would be hired, and stores and infrastructure would follow. As these children grew up, the parents would save to give them the opportunity to go to college or university, providing a more educated work force and helping the company grow. But GM in Canada has shuttered most of its core business, its highly acclaimed truck plant was transferred to Mexico. The Camaro went to Michigan along with some Impala production. We are left with remnants. A new Cadillac plant is opening in China, new Buick products are coming to North America from China later this year. Small cars are now made in Korea and imported to Canada and the USA. How does that help build an infrastructure for growth in Canada?

    Do you ever see Stephen shopping in a Loblaws food store or Canadian Tire, would he even say hello to you? Do you think he would ever take his company car in for service at a dealership to see what the experience is like? Would you not want to go and shake his hand and say thank you for doing something great in Canada? Again, a leader is part of the community, he helps it grow, Stephen spent most of his career off shore which is where our work is going now.

    Stephen, you want driver less cars, green energy and electric cars here, well how about you and your executives try using Chevrolet Volt’s as company cars, or the new Malibu or Cruze. And not for just 30 days, but for ever going forward? Why are most execs driving SUV’s. pickups and premium brands? Drive what you want us to drive. You want connectivity, why not let Uber drive you to work See what it feels like. That is what you are promoting.

    In today’s world leaders are becoming extinct. We have bosses, executives, shareholders, prime ministers, presidents but no leaders. We have people who like to talk the talk but do not walk the walk, people are self centered, they talk from both sides of their mouths, they are takers not givers. All these people like to tell others what they should do, but refuse to do the same themselves. Look at our politicians, they are screaming for clean energy, fix climate change, be financially responsible, yet they are flying jets, driving SUV’s, attending fancy events around the world, going to luxury hotels and luxury resorts, creating more and more debt yet they tell the people to make all these changes.

    So yes we must all step up to the plate, but as a professed leader we are counting on you for much more in our community Stephen.

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