By on April 5, 2019

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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10 Comments on “Unifor Awaits GM’s Response to Jobs-saving Proposal...”

  • avatar

    Given the way Jerry and Unifor have conducted themselves since the closing announcement, I can’t imagine GM would want to sign up for a single minute of additional time working with these guys. It probably just steeled GM’s resolve to be done with the place.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, considering how much better the UAW has behaved, I’d be shocked if Oshawa was spared over DHam. Which considering Lordstown is closed already, I’m assuming is GM’s “compromise” UAW contract position; spare D-Ham, close the other already unallocated plants.
      Maybe get a lower volume Cruze/Sonic tweener allocation? Some other crossover on that platform, to keep volumes acceptable.

  • avatar

    Nope. GM can’t wait to cash in on the real estate sale. They won’t leave anything but a hasty exit breeze.

  • avatar

    I finished my “career ” at the Oshawa Stamping plant .At one point there was ten transfer presses, and one conventional press. Oshawa metal is also contiguous with both car plants . The stamping plant is equipped with an Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (an ASRS)

    Most of the equipment, and the climate controlled building is over 30 years old. The one exception would be a multi million dollar, massive 12 year old transfer press. This particular press is one of very few in the world. To put it simply, a blank is auto fed into a draw die. As the panel works its way through progressive, successive dies TWO body sides come out the other end . Both a left, and a right, body side …(from the firewall back)

    Yes it could be moved. First you need a place to put it . Approximately 20 ft high 75 yards long . It requires a 50+ Ton overhead crane to do a 45 minute die change . The press eats blank steel at 8 strokes a minute . A logistical nightmare to move but it could be done.

    UNIFOR and the rest of us, want to see a GM footprint , however small . Ideally, mothballing the Flex plant would be a positive step.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Having conducted a rather cursory search, I cannot find Unifor’s actual current proposals. Does anyone know what they are?

  • avatar

    Arthur …The objective is to keep a foot print in Oshawa…As of right now, the details have not been released .

    My guess, GM and UNIFOR are thinking outside the box.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    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.

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