Published: Fri, May 10, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

GM, union reach deal to rescue part of Ontario plant

GM, union reach deal to rescue part of Ontario plant

The automaker announced a plan to transform the Oshawa Assembly plant into a parts facility and autonomous vehicle test track. "The answer is yes - but what I do know is you play the cards you're dealt, and you make the best out of a bad situation".

GM even hinted at the potential to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years, as the business attracts new customers.

President and Managing Director, Travis Hester says 55-acres at the Oshawa plant will also be converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles. The plant will serve as a stamping facility, producing parts for GM vehicles, with the company saying that they hope to eventually produce parts for other manufacturers as well.

"The fact that we're going to maintain the integrity of manufacturing for the long-term is critically important", he said.

In November, GM announced plans to close the plant by the end of 2019, affecting nearly 2,600 workers.

Dias said the agreement will help keep the company in Oshawa over the next decade. "There'll be more next year".

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GM will offer enhanced retirement packages to retirement-eligible Oshawa Assembly employees including vouchers toward the purchase of new GM vehicles, a benefit that will support both retiring employees and GM dealerships in Durham Region and surrounding areas.

Transition plans for employees include special relocation opportunities to other Ontario operations. "Today, GM has committed to providing work for hundreds of them at the plant and to supporting the others, and we want to see it through", the statement reads.

Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Todd Smith, welcomed the news. The centre will receive support from GM, Unifor and the Government of Ontario, and will match employee skills with requirements from new employers.

"Just yesterday, Oshawa's autoworkers were facing a completely uncertain future", he said in a statement.

"We also expect to bring more jobs to the USA over time in support of the expected provisions of the USMCA".

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