GM Strike Sends Ripples Across the Border, Canadian Union Prez Hints at Labor Action to Come
Plenty of workers at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant soon won’t have much to do, as the UAW’s strike against GM impacts pickup production in Canada. The facility, due to stop producing vehicles by the end of the year, will temporarily lay off over a thousand workers, the automaker’s Canadian arm announced Wednesday. That’s more than half the plant’s workforce.
Elsewhere in the province of Ontario, the strike has stemmed the flow of components and could soon lead to other layoffs. Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three auto workers in the country, added its voice to the fray this week, hinting that next year’s Canadian bargaining talks could end with the same outcome.
By that time, of course, there won’t be much product emerging from Oshawa. But for now, previous-generation Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras will continue rolling out of Oshawa, just at half-speed. The Chevrolet Equinox calls Ingersoll, Ontario home.
CBC reports that 1,200 Oshawa workers were told to go home Tuesday afternoon, with this morning bringing news that 650 additional workers were not needed at the plant.
A spokesperson for GM Canada told CNBC Wednesday that the strike thus far isn’t impacting other operations north of the border. If things drag on, that picture could change. Citigroup analysts cite Magna, Lear, and American Axle as the suppliers most likely to feel the impact of the UAW labor action.
Unifor president Jerry Dias said GM’s St. Catharines, Ontario propulsion plant could go dark within days if the strike drags on. In a Monday release, Unifor pledged solidarity with the UAW. “Canadian workers and American autoworkers feel the exact same way. They feel betrayed,” Dias told CTV, adding that a strike “may very well” come to GM on Canadian soil next year.
While GM later pulled back from a full closure of Oshawa Assembly, the vast majority of its 2,600 workers will have to find other jobs once the facility converts into a parts and test center operation. This decision will loom large during upcoming bargaining talks.
On Monday, a far smaller group of workers were temporarily let go from Martin Transportation Systems in Windsor, Ontario. Without goods to haul across the border between GM plants, there’s not much for truckers on those routes to do.
[Image: General Motors]
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@Rick Astley...The CAW was created in 1984 ..over just that reason...At that time the U.S had settled We in Canada stayed out for 15 days disrupting the entire U.S GM production. An old but excellent documentary called "Final Offer"is on You tube and tells the whole story.
Based on how slow the new GM pickups are selling, GM has plenty of inventory of these hideous and professional grade hideous products to last several months. I love how unions care about their workers; those not their workers can rot for all they care.