GM Canada workers hold sit-down protest over closure

Associated Press
The General Motors plant sign is viewed in Oshawa, Ontario, on November 26, 2018.

Oshawa, Ontario – Unionized workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, staged a second work stoppage on Tuesday after the company confirmed it would not reconsider plans to close the facility that would lead to the loss of 3,000 jobs.

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.

Unifor president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about union proposals to extend the life of the Ontario plant, including extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant. GM said they were not economically viable.

GM announced in November it would cut up to 14,000 workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure.

David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada, said the union should instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the workers who are losing their jobs.

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.