GM workers stage another sit-in at Oshawa plant

The Oshawa General Motors car assembly plant is shown in Oshawa Ont. on Nov 26 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Eduardo Lima

Dias said the US$22-million annual salary of company CEO Mary Barra is greater than the entire payroll of one assembly plant in Mexico. "We argued you can reverse those decisions and bring a vehicle back to Canada".

Volpe acknowledged that investors have responded positively to the restructuring from a product perspective and capacity utilization perspective, but said GM is "so much more than the stock ticker".

As it stands General Motors in Oshawa will close down in 2019.

The options suggested by the union, including extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS now produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant, are not economic, said David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada.

GM announced in November the Oshawa plant will close this year, part of cuts in the US and Canada that will see 14,000 workers in North America out of work and five plants closed.

The union leader referenced how there has already been some customer backlash in Canada against GM products, following the Oshawa announcement.

The union is running ads that accuse GM of "corporate greed", shifting production to Mexico after being saved by an $11-billion bailout from Ottawa and the Ontario government in the financial crisis of 2008-09.

The decision would result in less than 200,000 GM vehicles built in Canada annually, yet GM expects Canadians to continue buying 300,000 vehicles per year, Dias said.

"Having completed an analysis of Unifor's proposals, GM has determined that it can not pursue them because they would not combat the declining economic and market factors that must be addressed", the automaker said in the letter from GM Canada president Travis Hester.

In a statement issued Tuesday, GM said the Unifor proposals "would involve substantial incremental costs and a further deterioration of GM's competitive position". It also plans to hold a demonstration in Windsor on Friday.

The union is also considering its legal options, Dias said. He stopped short of calling for a boycott, but said Canadians are furious that GM wants to close the plant after Canada bailed out GM with almost $11 billion in 2008.

"Canadians are furious today and frankly so am I", added Dias.

"Until they turn the lights off, it's always prudent to keep trying", Volpe said. "But all they look at is the bottom line of profits".

The automaker rejected the union's proposal to keep the plant open past 2019, saving more than 2,500 jobs.

"In our history, Chrysler has never approached what GM keeps doing to us time and time again", he said.

The meeting came a day after Unifor launched TV advertisements lambasting GM for the slated closures on networks across Canada and in Detroit, where GM plans to close the storied Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant that manufactures the hybrid Chevy Volt.

"Unifor presented General Motors with solid options to maintain production in Oshawa last month", Dias said in a release. He says this is corporate greed with GM moving more work to Mexico.

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