Thursday, 17 January, 2019

GM workers stage another sit-in at Oshawa plant

Jerry Dias Union head to discuss fate of GM Oshawa plant - 680 NEWS
Orlando Vargas | 11 January, 2019, 23:12

The union said the protest Wednesday morning lasted close to two hours and followed about a five-hour sit-down at the plant the evening before. "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?"

In expressing his disappointment in GM's decision, Dias said he was disgusted with what he characterized as the silence of the provincial and national governments in Canada.

The president of the union representing Canadian autoworkers says his members don't have the same government support that American autoworkers enjoy in their efforts to convince General Motors to keep plants from shutting down.

Dias said he's not accepting the end of the Oshawa plant and that the company acknowledged in the meeting it would be possible to extend current production at the plant.

"We're going to continue to have discussions with them about solutions", Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, the union that represents workers at the plant, said after meeting with GM officials at the No. 1 USA automaker's Detroit headquarters.

The closure of Oshawa's GM plant will immediately result in the loss of a combined 4,400 jobs on the assembly line and at parts manufacturers across Ontario and the job loss will only grow over time, a union-commissioned study has found.

Dias also previously said one option would be to extend operations for nine months, when regular contract talks are scheduled to begin, allowing more time for a long-term solution.

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He said the union should instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the close to 3,000 jobs impacted.

"I'm deeply disappointed at the response from the corporation", Dias said.

"GM has not only picked a fight with Unifor but they have picked a fight with all of Canada", said Dias. GM says it has identified job opportunities and is willing to pay for retraining.

Colin James, president of Unifor Local 222 in Oshawa, speaks to the media with Unifor national leader Jerry Dias on Tuesday at the Unifor Local 444/200 hall following their meeting with General Motors executives in Detroit. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra promised in early December to keep an "open mind" about another affected plant, Ohio's Lordstown Assembly.

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. The company employs 8,150 in Canada.

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

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