Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

GM rejects Unifor proposals

GM rejects Unifor proposals

Workers at General Motors Co assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario staged a sit down protest that interrupted production for about two hours on Wednesday morning, a union spokeswoman said, following a similar protest late on Tuesday.

However, In a statement signed by GM Canada president Travis Hester and General Motors VP of manufacturing and labour relations Gerald Johnson, the company said the proposals brought to them by Unifor would result in increased costs and would harm the company's competitive position.

The options suggested by the union, including extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS now produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant, are not economic, said David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada.

"We understand our union's frustration, but need to now work together to deliver supports, transition and training for our employees", said GM spokesman David Paterson.

"Hold on, we're not backing down" said Dias.

The U.S. auto giant announced in November that it intends to cease production at its iconic plant east of Toronto at the end of this year.

Speaking in Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday afternoon, Dias said he was "deeply disappointed" by GM's decision to close the Oshawa facility, calling it an example of "corporate greed".

Late a year ago, GM announced it would cease production at the award-winning Oshawa plant at the end of 2019.

"I'm furious right now", Dias added.

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One of Oshawa's most prominent sons is bullish on the small Canadian city's chances of surviving the shutdown of its General Motors Co. plant. "But at least he's fighting", said Dias.

Furthermore, General Motors says it has identified up to 5,000 job opportunities for impacted workers at more than 20 businesses in the Durham Region and the GTA.

A union spokesperson said workers are returning back on the production line.

"GM has not only picked a fight with Unifor but they have picked a fight with all of Canada", said Dias.

On Tuesday night, truck assembly stopped completely for almost five hours, Unifor said.

The union is also hosting a solidarity rally on Friday in Windsor, Ontario.

Dias says the fight to keep the plant open is not over, and the union may explore legal avenues related to contract agreements with the company.

While the study does concede that there could be a slight uptick in employment across Canada at first as laid off workers move to other parts of the country it estimates that 10,000 jobs will eventually be lost outside Ontario due to a weaker economy.

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