Unifor Awaits GM's Response to Jobs-saving Proposal

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
unifor awaits gms response to jobs saving proposal

Eight months ahead of the planned shutdown of Canada’s oldest auto plant, union officials are on pins and needles, hoping General Motors prove receptive to its plan to save some of the 2,600 jobs at Oshawa Assembly.

Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers north of the border, has submitted a proposal to GM in the hopes of making the best of a bad situation. It’s waiting to hear back, with word expected to arrive next week.

According to Automotive News Canada, Unifor officials, including its president, Jerry Dias, met with GM Canada President Travis Hester and Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice- president of global manufacturing, on March 19th. It was at that point that UNifor agreed to hold off on pressure tactics. Earlier, the union staged labor action at the Ontario plant and launched a boycott of Mexican-made GM vehicles.

Oshawa Assembly houses production of previous-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, as well as the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala. Under GM’s restructuring plan, product will dry up in December of this year.

Unifor Local 222 President Colin James told the publication that the automaker is doing “some sort of assessment” on the union’s proposal. James claims his associated should know GM’s decision by next week.

What does the proposal contain? James wasn’t telling, though when asked whether Oshawa’s stamping operation — which supplies GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant (due to go lights-out in January 2020) — he said there’s “some work that would make sense just because we have the guys there and the stamping facility.”

Saving the assembly plant seems a lost cause, as GM has given no indication it’s willing to reconsider. But car production isn’t the only GM operation in the area.

James said Unifor was “trying to look outside of that, if there’s anything available.”

“What we’re doing is trying to look outside the box and look at any jobs that we can save in the facility or add to,” he said. “So, of course, that doesn’t save all of our members, but any job saved is one less person hitting the streets.”

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Readallover Readallover on Apr 05, 2019

    If we are to go by history, the UNIFOR proposal includes hiring more people than needed and paying them more money. The GM proposal is to stick with whatever they decided two years ago, regardless of the change of the market.

  • James Charles James Charles on Apr 05, 2019

    I feel sorry for the workers, but like all industries since humans walked the planet nothing is secure. I really think the biggest consideration is costs vs benefits. If better value can be realised for Canada the plant should close. How many dollars have been pumped into the plant over the past couple of decades? That is taxpayer dollars. All those dollars could of been better invested for future Canadian growth. The cost of propping each job might just make it unattractive.

  • Conundrum Can't see that the Espada chassis had much to do with the Miura. The Miura had a rear-mounted transverse V12 with the transmission and final drive all part of the engine block. So it's a bit of a stretch saying the north-south V12 and regular transmission Espada chassis was related to the Miura. It looks to be no more than an update of the 400 GT. And short and long-arm independendent suspension was hardly unique -- a '53 Chev had that in front, it was standard for years on most cars that didn't have Mac struts. The Brits call SLA suspension double wishbone, so Honda thought that sounded more mysterious than SLA and used that terminology in ads, but it's the same thing. Only a few mid '30s cars had same length upper and lower A-arms like a '36 Chev, before the obvious advantage of a short upper arm for camber control was introduced. Of course Ford used a dead beam front axle until 1949, so it was last to climb out of the stone age.Do you have a link to a reference that says the Miura and Espada chassis were related?
  • FreedMike One of the things that we here in North America often forget about Europe is that it's a COMPLETELY different world to drive in. Imagine driving in the downtown area of the city you live in 24/7, and never leaving it, and you have a decent simulation of what it's like to drive in a place like Paris, or London, or Rome - or Manhattan, for that matter. As far as the "dystopia" is concerned, I don't really see it that way. This isn't made for people living in the 'burbs - it's for urban dwellers. And for that application, this car would be about perfect. The big question is how successful the effort to provide large-scale EV charging in urban areas will be.
  • Matzel I am hoping that Vee-Dub will improve the UX and offer additional color options for the 2024 Mk8.5 refresh for Canada. Until then, I'll be quite happy with my '21 GTI performance pack. It still puts a smile on my face going through the twisty bits.
  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.