GM reaffirms Oshawa closure after meetings with Ontario and federal officials

Ontario Premier Doug Ford met with GM president Mark Reuss Tuesday morning.

0 January 15, 2019
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

Doug Ford

Photo courtesy of Andrea G.

TORONTO – Ontario and federal politicians have walked away empty-handed from meetings with General Motors about the company’s plans to close the Oshawa Assembly Plant.

Federal Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains met briefly with GM CEO Mary Barra on the sidelines of an auto show in Detroit Monday and Ontario Premier Doug Ford met with GM president Mark Reuss Tuesday morning.

Both politicians said they urged the company to reconsider its decision to close the plant and are disappointed that GM did not budge on the closure.

“Following a meeting with Unifor, I promised to press General Motors executives to extend operations at the Oshawa plant in order to give the affected workers more time to deal with the impacts of the closure,” said Ford in a statement after the GM meeting.

“Despite raising this on repeated instances, I was disappointed to hear that General Motors’ position has not changed.”

Unifor president Jerry Dias has been critical of Ford’s failure to fight for Oshawa workers after the premier said after the announcement that little could be done to alter the minds of GM executives. Ford met with Dias Monday and committed to raising the issue with the company.

Bains said in a statement Monday night that he urged the company to reconsider the Oshawa closure and is ready to play an active role in finding solutions for the workers.

“GM is making a mistake by giving up on Oshawa’s workers,” he said in a statement.

The company said in a statement that it told government officials it intends to continue to be a major manufacturer in Canada with its Ingersoll and St. Catharines plants and an expanded automotive research base.

Unifor has fought unsuccessfully to have the Ingersoll plant designated as the lead producer of the Chevrolet Equinox, which would create production certainty for the line. The Equinox is also produced at two plants in Mexico and the union is concerned the company could shift more production to the country.

GM announced in late November that it would wind down its Oshawa operations by the end of 2019 at a loss of about 2,600 unionized workers and 340 other staff.

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