GM's Oshawa Assembly to Stay in Company Hands, Switch Roles

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

All this GM assembly plant news dropping today…

Announced Wednesday, GM’s Oshawa Assembly, Canada’s oldest auto plant, will not close permanently come the end of the year. After product disappears from its expansive confines later in 2019, the plant will swap hats, leaving its auto manufacturing role in the past. Unfortunately for employees, while some of the plant’s 2,600 workers stand to retain their employment, most will not.

Earlier today, GM Canada and autoworkers’ union Unifor announced a “Transformation Agreement” aimed at retaining some employment at the plant and converting the facility for other uses. There’s $170 million (CAD) in company cash backing up the plan.

Oshawa Assembly, like Lordstown and Detroit-Hamtramck, found itself free of future product after GM announced cost-cutting measures last last year. Since then, Unifor has thrown every tactic it can muster at the situation, leading to walkouts and a boycott of Mexican-made GM vehicles.

So, what does this metamorphosis entail? Once the old-generation GM pickups dry up, along with the Cadillac XTS, the plant’s role will switch to “one focused on stamping, related sub-assembly, and other miscellaneous activities for GM and other auto industry customers,” the automaker said.

As well, “GM will convert part of the Oshawa Plant property into a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles – further expanding the capability of GM’s Canadian Technical Centre (CTC) in Ontario.”

Through these changes, GM Canada expects to save 300 jobs at the plant, though Unifor President Jerry Dias sees it as a door to additional hiring.

“By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future,” Dias said in a statement. “We are in a much better position than we were five months ago when the plant was closing.”

In addition to the plant switcharoo, the automaker announced “enhanced” retirement packages to the plant’s workers, special relocations for some workers to other GM operations in the province, and a retraining program for Oshawa employees unable to land work within the company.

“A ‘Jobs Action Centre’ will be opened in June 2019, in Oshawa to enable employees to plan now for future career opportunities outside GM following the end of Oshawa vehicle production in December 2019,” the automaker stated. The program draws financial support from the automaker, Unifor, and the Ontario government.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mikey Mikey on May 08, 2019

    To the editors at TTAC Every TTAC editor back to Robert Farago ..even Bertal acknowledged my tips...!! You'll never get another one from me.! Mikey

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    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on May 09, 2019

      @Mikey, I have also greatly appreciated your insight and comments. As to the current 'leadership' at TTAC, when the Humboldt tragedy occurred, which was/is a major story in Canada and has resulted in changes to licensing regulations and intersection design TTAC 'leadership' generally ignored it. I contacted the E-I-C remarking on this and recommending that it should at least lead to articles on a) the viability of roundabouts b) driver licensing. Nothing resulted. And what happened to all of the requests for reader reviews of owned/rental vehicles? Also nothing. I may have disliked JB's public persona but he at least 'connected' with the readers.

  • Mikey Mikey on May 08, 2019

    @ HDC ....Thank You

  • Lou_BC I've been considering a 2nd set of tires and wheels. I got stuck in some gooie mud that turned my Duratrac's to slicks. I personally would stick to known brands and avoid Chinesium knock-offs.
  • Carson D How do you maximize profits when you lost $60K on every vehicle you produce? I guess not producing any more vehicles would be a start.
  • Carguy949 You point out that Rivian and Tesla lack hybrids to “bring home the bacon”, but I would clarify that Tesla currently makes a profit while Rivian doesn’t.
  • Cprescott I'm sure this won't matter to the millions of deceived Honduh owners who think the company that once prided itself on quality has somehow slipped in the real world. Same for Toyoduhs. Resting on our Laurel's - Oh, what a feeling!
  • Jrhurren I had this happen numerous times with my former Accord. It usually occurred when on a slow right curve in the road. Somehow the system would get confused and think the opposite lane (oncoming traffic) was an impending head-on collision.