GM, Unifor agree to slimmed-down future for Oshawa plant

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. and Canadian trade union Unifor have forged an agreement to save about 300 of the 2,600 endangered union jobs at the Detroit automaker's Oshawa Assembly Plant.

GM will invest $170 million Canadian in the Oshawa, Ontario, plant to transition to "stamping, sub-assembly and miscellaneous activities," Travis Hester, president and managing director of GM Canada said at a joint press conference. The Oshawa plant will stop production of the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala by December 2019 as previously announced.

Another 55 acres on the south end of the property will be converted to support testing of self-driving vehicles.

The agreement between GM and Canada comes nearly six months after the Detroit automaker announced a global restructuring effort that would include stopping production by January 2020 at the Unifor-represented Oshawa Assembly plant and four United Auto Workers-represented plant in the U.S.

Workers arrive at the General Motors Assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, on November 26, 2018.

Intense backlash from both unions followed GM's restructuring announcement on Nov. 26, with Unifor spearheading an aggressive attack-ad campaign against GM. Unifor in March agreed to suspend that ad campaign — which began with front page advertisements in Dec. 20 issues of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press and reached its crescendo in a contested Super Bowl ad — after the automaker and the union appeared to make progress toward a future for GM's Oshawa plant.

On March 6, GM's Lordstown Assembly in Ohio was the first to stop production of its only product: the Chevrolet Cruze. The Detroit-Hamtramck plant stopped production of the Chevrolet Volt and Buick LaCrosse on Feb. 15, but will continue production of the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala through January 2020.

UAW leadership has repeatedly said it will "leave no stone unturned" in fighting to keep Lordstown, Detroit-Hamtramck, Warren Transmission and Baltimore Operations running. GM and the UAW will discuss the future of those plants during contract negotiations this fall.

Twitter: @NoraNaughton