On Monday, General Motors’ added a second shift for Heavy Duty variants of the Chevrolet Silverado at Oshawa Assembly to ensure the automaker can meet demand. There are also plans to launch a third shift to spur production of light-duty pickups after GM spent the last two years struggling to deliver vehicles in a timely manner.
GM Canada recently representatives from the Canadian federal government, eager to show that its $2 billion investment into Ontario manufacturing (specifically at Oshawa and CAMI Assembly) had already borne fruit. While this is said to eventually include the production of BrightDrop’s all-electric and perpetually connected Zevo vans, GM is presently focused on swelling production on some of its most valuable products.
It was a sad day when General Motors all but mothballed its Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant — a manufacturing site that had cranked out cars since 1907 — but new production will soon be underway.
Not of sedans or pickups, the latter of which happened to be the plant’s last vehicular products when it ceased assembly in 2019, but masks. A lot of masks.
Canada had just turned 40 and Teddy Roosevelt was running a zoo out of the White House when the first automobiles rolled out of Oshawa, Ontario.
Starting in 1907, Oshawa built vehicles of the McLaughlin Motor Car Company, with the cars carrying Buick drivetrains shipped in from Flint, Michigan. An early alliance! Thank the close friendship between Sam McLaughlin and William Durant for that partnership. The Chevrolet brand set up shop at the lakeside assembly plant not long thereafter, and in 1918 General Motors of Canada Limited was formed from McLaughlin and Chevrolet Canada.
Fast-forward 101 years, and the last GM vehicle has left the factory. Workers put the finishing touches on the final vehicle today.
Cadillac's XTS Has an End Date to Etch on Its Tombstone; Union Anticipates Additional Jobs at Oshawa Assembly
Following last week’s announcement of a new, less-populous future for General Motors’ once doomed Oshawa Assembly plant, a promise backed up by $170 million in company cash, the union representing workers at the Canadian facility has revealed when its current products will bite the dust.
Under a company-wide streamlining effort outlined last year, Oshawa would reach “unallocated” status by the end of 2019. That’s still the plan, but two full-size car models will cease production before that. It’s advantageous that Ford Motor Company decided to keep the Lincoln MKT in production, as one of the culled models is the Cadillac XTS.
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.
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.
Ontario Labor Relations Board Chairman Bernard Fishbein recently ruled that Unifor’s actions over the winter were illegal under the province’s Labor Relations Act, stipulating that the union must “cease and desist from engaging in, authorizing or counseling unlawful strikes or engaging in any act that is likely to cause employees at the Inteva, Lear or GM plant (or any other supplier of the GM plant) or any employees having notice of this decision to engage in any unlawful strike.”
However, Unifor President Jerry Dias says the board’s finding that the union engaged in unlawful strikes against General Motors and its suppliers will not stop its workers from walking off the job in the future.
Two days after blockading roads leading to General Motors’ Canadian headquarters, autoworkers union Unifor rolled out an invisible wall to be placed between Canadians and GM vehicles built south of the Rio Grande.
The union’s call to boycott Mexican-made GM products doesn’t come as a surprise; Unifor president Jerry Dias threatened it in the past as a way of prodding corporate bosses in Detroit to keep the century-old Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant open. With the union now escalating its protest action, the boycott call is out. GM Canada isn’t happy about it, claiming it will only end up hurting Canadian workers.
The faint hope that existed at the end of 2018 in regards to General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant no longer exists, except maybe in the minds of the most optimistic of union brass. On Tuesday, the automaker told Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, that its proposals to save the country’s oldest auto plant weren’t feasible.
GM laid out its reasoning in a letter to Unifor President Jerry Dias. As before, it all came down to cost … and the public’s dislike of cars.
It isn’t looking good. There’s a greater-than-likely chance we’ll soon have a flexible yet unwanted assembly plant sitting vacant on the other side of the lake from Rochester, New York, joining two transmission facilities, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, and Lordstown Assembly on GM’s Island of Misfit Plants.
The union representing Detroit Three automakers north of the border is fighting to keep it open, buying up pages of ad space in Detroit newspapers and taking its case to the loftiest denizens of the Renaissance Center. In a week’s time, General Motors will either give the autoworkers of Oshawa something to be thankful for, or squash any remaining hope.
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.”
Despite ongoing turmoil in the country’s oilpatch, with the government of Alberta paying to have white Dodge Durango R/T SUVs project a constantly updating tally of money lost due to discounted Canadian oil prices onto the sides of downtown Ottawa buildings, the big economic story north of the border remains General Motors.
After squashing rumors of a plant closure during the last round of union bargaining, the automaker announced late last month that the city of Oshawa, Ontario’s worst fears would indeed come true. Oshawa Assembly will close by the end of 2019, leaving some 2,500 GM workers out of a job.
It’s not the kind of situation a newly minted company president wants to preside over, but that’s the plate Travis Hester was handed from the bigwigs in the Renaissance Center.
But first, some Cyber Monday deals…!
Just kidding. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of that, God willing.
It didn’t take long for the usual suspects north of the border to respond to General Motors’ looming plant closures with ridiculous “solutions” — nationalizing GM Canada, for example, no doubt with the goal of repeating the successes of British Leyland in the late 70s and early 80s. Who could doubt the profit-generating prowess of the public sector?
Elsewhere, fiery rhetoric from autoworkers’ unions greeted news of GM’s plan to shutter five plants in the U.S. and Canada. But without new product allocations, and with demand for traditional sedans sinking fast, there’s little hope of seeing these facilities return to their golden days.
CTV News in Canada is reporting that General Motors is shutting the doors at its Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant.
The plant, located about 37 miles (60 kilometers or so) east of Toronto, hosts about 2,500 union jobs and around 300 salaried jobs. GM has other employees in the Ontario cities of Ingersoll, Markham, and St. Catharines, but it’s not clear if any jobs in those areas will be affected. The population of Oshawa is around 159,000.
Production of crew cab and double cab variants of GM’s full-size 2019 pickups is already underway, but the automaker won’t fully turn off the taps on the older-generation models until after the middle of next year.
GM provided a run-down of its pickup production plans Wednesday, assuring those who aren’t fans of the new Silverado’s styling that there’ll be a toned-down alternative available for some time.
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