Oshawa Miffed After Apparent Snub by GM's Mary Barra

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 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.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.