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GM workers stage another sit-in at Oshawa plant
11 January 2019, 02:30 | Joann Bryant
Union blames ‘corporate greed’ after GM rejects proposals that would keep Oshawa assembly plant open past 2019
Unifor, the union that represents workers at the plant, has vowed to block its closure.
"Workers are no wreturning to the line with production expected to resume shortly", read a second release.
"They're moving ahead with their plan".
The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed. He added how the Canadian governments and taxpayers also provided $11 billion in subsidies to GM at a time when it faced near bankruptcy a decade ago. "We argued you can reverse those decisions and bring a vehicle back to Canada".
As for whether protests would continue, Diaz said, "We're just playing it by ear". "In the end, I'm confident that we're going to be okay through all this, and that the key for folks, for example, in Oshawa is to focus on: How do we adjust?" "It's not more complicated than that".
"It's about corporate greed", said Dias.
GM announced in November it was shutting down its Oshawa operations by the end of 2019, as well as closing four smaller assembly plants in the U.S.
Dias previously promised "one hell of a fight" to prevent the Oshawa plant's closure.
He said the union should instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the close to 3,000 jobs impacted.
GM said it has identified job opportunities, is willing to pay for retraining and is open to negotiations on packages for workers on top of what is already included in contracts.
"We know these decisions are challenging for all of us, but GM remains committed to working jointly with Unifor to facilitate and support the transition of the Oshawa Assembly workforce", the company said. Unifor said the deal stipulates there will be no plant closures before September 21, 2020.
The ongoing shift of auto manufacturing by GM away from Canada and USA has helped boost profits for the automaker to what the union leader said reached US$6 billion over the first nine months of 2018. GM has said keeping Oshawa open would increase their costs and make them less competitive.
Photo of the sit-down protest at GM Oshawa courtesy of Unifor. "This is not only about jobs in Oshawa, but Canadians as a nation". That line is down to one shift.
Oshawa builds the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans. It also operates two shifts that complete final assembly on the outgoing generation of Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.
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