GM says Oshawa plant will stay closed, though Unifor and workers vow fight will continue
Families in Oshawa and its surrounding area didn't get the news they were hoping for Tuesday, following a meeting between General Motors and the union representing its workers.
Despite several proposals presented to the company by Unifor, GM Canada said it would not change course on its decision to stop production at the Oshawa plant after December 2019.
"Having completed an analysis of Unifor's proposals, GM has determined that it cannot pursue them because they would not combat the declining economic and market factors that must be addressed," GM Canada executives said in a statement.
Speaking in Windsor, Unifor President Jerry Dias said GM has picked a fight with all of Canada.
"This is about greed, it's about corporate greed," he said. "But I'm here and I'm saying to each and every one of you, we are not accepting the closure of our Oshawa facilities."
Dias said GM acknowledged the importance of the Canadian market, that it has received billions in bailout money and that keeping the plant open wouldn't cause any deep economic harm.
But despite any sign of a reversal and asked what can be done now, Dias said they'll go ahead with a planned protest on Friday, calling it a "mere start."
"The reality is is that General Motors will only understand when Canadians punish them for decisions that they are making," he said.
Dias said that doesn't mean a boycott, but there will be a significant campaign to get GM's attention.
He also said there's legal discussions over whether GM violated its collective bargaining agreement.
"Are we looking at all of our legal options, the answer is yes," he said.
Unifor Local 222 President Colin James said he was "completely devastated, disappointed and disgusted" with the decision.
"It's going to devastate our community if it's allowed," he said. "They're turning their backs on Canadians."
Dias also said the provincial and federal governments have to stand up and fight and said he's disgusted by their silence.
But even back when the layoffs were first announced in late November, Premier Doug Ford said there was nothing that could be done.
"They're gone, they're done," he said at the time.