"Yesterday, General Motors met with representatives with Canadian union Unifor - the second in less in two weeks. Talks centered around Oshawa with Unifor pleading to reconsider plans of phasing out products at the plant to keep 3,000 jobs. But those talks went nowhere as GM is moving forward with their restructuring plans.
"Unfortunately, all Unifor’s proposals would involve substantial incremental costs and a further deterioration of GM’s competitive position. 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," wrote GM's vice president of manufacturing and labor relations Gerald Johnson and president of GM Canada Travis Hester to Unifor president Jerry Dias in a letter.
Unifor had proposed a number of ideas to GM keep Oshawa open including "continuing production of older trucks while the company looks for a longer-term option," according to The Detroit News. GM said no to the various ideas, but will support "retraining opportunities for Oshawa employees and working with businesses in the region to help facilitate relocation when the plant phases out production."
Dias wasn't too happy with the result of talks, saying at a press conference yesterday that GM leaders "in my opinion haven’t reached deep enough or far enough to find a solution. We are not accepting the closure of our Oshawa facilities under any circumstance."
Workers at Oshawa's afternoon shift staged a sit-down protest yesterday starting around 5:00 P.M. and lasting till 9:45 when GM decided to send them home. Photos and videos posted to Unifor Canada show workers sitting at their stations and buzzers sounding off. Automotive News reports that a second sit-down protest took place this morning for 90 minutes at 8:00 A.M.
“We understand our union’s frustration but need to now work together to deliver support, transition and training for our employees for new opportunities over the coming year,” GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright.
It is unclear if the protests will continue or how much production was lost. What is certain is that Unifor will hold a mass rally in Windsor on Friday.