Oshawa Miffed After Apparent Snub by GM's Mary Barra

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
oshawa miffed after apparent snub by gms mary barra

There’s no hurt feelings like a city council’s hurt feelings.

Oshawa, Ontario, home to TTAC’s managing editor and General Motors Canada headquarters, is feeling a little invisible after an invite delivered last June to GM CEO Mary Barra failed to result in a visit.

The invite came at the onset of tense Detroit Three labor contract negotiations, when it seemed like Oshawa’s assembly plant was living on very borrowed time. Ultimately, the plant was granted a reprieve, though the city remains nervous about the long-term viability of the plant and GM’s commitment to it.

After seven months of being the wallflower at the dance, city councilors want some up close and personal face time.

While GM pledged new investment in its Canadian workforce, including 700 new technical jobs scattered across several testing and development sites, Oshawa remains in the business of building cars and trucks.

Models like the Chevrolet Impala and Camaro have bled away, and the Buick Regal will soon have a German home. The automaker’s crossover plant in Ingersoll, Ontario can now handle its full complement of Chevrolet Equinox, meaning Oshawa isn’t needed for final assembly. That leaves the Cadillac XTS and a stopgap deal that will swap Equinox final assembly with that of an unspecified pickup truck.

While new product is promised, GM hasn’t announced what savior appear, or when. Oshawa would like the opportunity to find out, and perhaps perform some public relations with the GM head.

According to Oshawa This Week, mayor John Henry reissued the invite in January. Barra responded by saying she would consider it a trip if her schedule allows it. To once councilor, the response and lack of appearance over the past seven months amounts to a snub.

Nancy Diamond said Barra’s letter reads like “thanks very much, but I’m not really interested.”

“If we don’t stand up for these workers, I don’t think anybody else will and Mary Barra’s answer is inadequate,” she said on January 30th.

The Renaissance Center in Detroit is just under five hours away from Oshawa by car, and the city contains an executive airport. Of course, there’s no denying that Barra’s schedule must be among the most packed in the nation, with no shortage of new considerations brought on by the election.

City council, doing what city councils do, ultimately passed a motion to express the city’s disappointment in a letter to GM.

[Image: General Motors]

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3 of 11 comments
  • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Feb 03, 2017

    They are too busy having hissy fits and just losing their sh1t in general, HDC.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Feb 03, 2017

      GeneralMalaise, do doubt you're right but I have never seen it like this. A lot of insecurity about what the future will bring, and the rearrangement of auto production in the US is just one issue. Oil & gas production and trade another. One thing for sure though, no matter which side of the political fence Americans are on; Hope and Change rule the day, the week, the month, for the next two years. Hope for all those people who felt left behind and forgotten by the last administration. And Change for all the trade-relationships that existed prior to Trump. For the first time in decades I feel engaged, waiting for the next big shoe to drop. Exciting times, but maybe not for others on the loosing end.

  • Jefmad Jefmad on Feb 03, 2017

    Call me crazy, but when you want something from somebody, don't you usually go to them? Only governments need something from some organization and insist that the entity come to them. It's funny that they don't see the arrogance. But at least they sent a letter to proclaim their disappointment.

  • SCE to AUX I would normally go right away, except that the latest trend is to simply advise you of a problem before they have an actual solution.Two of my cars are under safety recall right now, and I scheduled them for sequential days but the soonest I could get in was 4 weeks. So much for safety.
  • SCE to AUX I didn't know they had 80 employees to lose.
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  • Syke Just got my Bolt's battery recall done yesterday. Happily, we've got a dealer that's supporting the Bolt competently, getting the battery kit was supposed to take five weeks since I signed the work order. It took two and a half. Pulled the car in 0730 Monday, got a call at 1600 that afternoon saying I could pick it up. Didn't get down there until this morning, 255 miles range with frost on the windows. I'm happy.
  • Syke Nice. Competent. Definitely a useful tool.