Union Set to 'Waste General Motors' in Canada

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
union set to waste general motors in canada

It’s been roughly a month since General Motors announced it would be shuttering Oshawa Assembly, leaving the facility’s nearly 3,000 employees and Canada’s auto union more than a little annoyed. Unifor leadership has said it intends to meet with GM executives on December 20th and discuss the automaker’s plans for the Oshawa facility in Detroit. However, the rhetoric coming from union head Jerry Dias makes the upcoming meeting sound more like a mafia hit than a labor negotiation.

“GM is leaving Canada, and we’re not going to let them,” Dias told reporters. “We are going to waste General Motors over the next year. Waste them.”

Unifor has launched the “ Save Oshawa GM” campaign in an effort to use social pressure to keep the plant operating through next year’s intended shuttering. If it fails, Dias says he’s prepared for a prolonged and direct battle with the automaker through 2019 with Unifor’s Local 222 leading the charge.

The union claims that GM has a legal obligation to keep the Oshawa plant open until September 21st, 2020 as part of their existing agreement. It’s currently seeking help from federal and Ontario governments to convince the automaker to adhere to the “no closure” policy until then. However, GM is officially “idling” the plant, not closing it — though the affected workers probably aren’t all that concerned with semantics.

Oshawa Assembly is currently responsible for the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS, two models which General Motors plans to remove from its lineup soon. It also does final assembly on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra bodies shipped in from Indiana. But that program is scheduled to end late next year.

Meanwhile, UAW bosses have said they’re similarly outraged with the automaker’s restructuring strategy and would likewise oppose GM’s plan to idle numerous U.S. facilities.

“This callous decision by GM to reduce or cease operations in American plants, while opening or increasing production in Mexico and China plants for sales to American consumers, is, in its implementation, profoundly damaging to our American workforce,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President, Director GM Department. “GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days. These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American made bailout.”

[Image: General Motors] [Source: Automotive News]

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  • Readallover Readallover on Dec 17, 2018

    Recently the Canadian Postal Workers Union began a series of rotating strikes. Sheer genius: Strike a Corporation that has a shrinking market share and force its` customers to learn how to receive and pay bills online. Make them learn how much cheaper it is to ship packages via UPS or Fedex. So, go on strike, Unifor, I am sure all those customers will wait and not buy another brand of car until the strike is settled.

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Dec 17, 2018

      @readallover: Unifor cannot go on strike. The Ontario Labour Relations Act prohibits strikes while there is a collective agreement in place. If the union were to condone/participate in an illegal strike, then a) the union leaders could be fined, b) the union leaders could be charged under the Act, and more importantly c) the union could be found liable for any costs associated with the illegal strike.

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Dec 17, 2018

    The US economy's strong performance is an illusion... Interested rates are low, and cheap money is bidding up the stock market. Many working people work several jobs to make ends meet. Working more than 40 hours a week in more than job tells me all is not well. When the cheap money ends, if it ends, the party will be over. The US govt is spending TWICE as much as it takes in. Good luck with that. As far as CAW, er Unifor, their big sin is that, unlike the UAW, they won't agree to two-tier wages (paying new hires about HALF of what veteran workers make). That seems principled to me. Unions, at least the UAW on a local level, can be a HUGE pain in the a**. However, without them, let's not kid ourselves, things like a 40-hour week, weekends off, vacations, health-care....a lot fewer people would have them. Also, when it comes to greed, what does one call CEO compensation? For Mary Barra, a CAREER GMer, who rose up the ranks in part by carrying Mr. Wagoner's bags, would she be CEO of such a large enterprise if the US/Canada govts didn't bail GM out? NO. Yet she's not shy about getting over $25 million in compensation. Instead of talking about US/Canda jobs going to cheaper labor, why doesn't anyone compare Mr. Toyoda's compensation to the Detroit Three? Maybe GM's (overpaid) board should hire an Asian to run the show. He'll cost less and probably do a better job.

    • See 1 previous
    • El scotto El scotto on Dec 17, 2018

      @markf Proof?

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)