World News – CA – GM announces pickup truck production to return to Oshawa plant with new deal with Unifor


TORONTO – General Motors Corp plans to reopen its Oshawa, Ont assembly plant, invest up to $ 1.3 billion in the facility and hire up to 1,700 workers, Unifor union said Thursday

The three-year interim deal with GM, which has yet to be approved by workers, would reopen the Oshawa assembly line to make Chevrolet Silverados and Sierras, 11 months after it was idled in the part of a global restructuring plan for the automaker

« During this process we had a lot of criticism – and when I say many, it’s a dramatic understatement – those who never thought we were doing enough, those who thought we should have. » push harder, ”said Unifor President Jerry Dias

GM said its planned new investments would include $ 1 billion to $ 1 billion3 billion in Oshawa with the expected hiring of 1,400 to 1,700 hourly workers

« Construction will begin immediately at the Oshawa Assembly and will include a new body shop and flexible assembly module, to quickly meet strong customer demand for GM’s new family of pickup trucks, » General Motors Canada President Scott Bell said in a statement

“Pickup trucks are GM’s largest and most important market segment in Canada and across the continent. They are also helping GM finance our transition to the electric, autonomous and highly connected future that we see in Canada. ‘to come up »

The deal, if approved, would be an unexpected but welcome development for the plant east of Toronto, which was downsized to 300 workers last December, from 2,600 Unifor members are expected to vote Sunday on the new agreement in principle

Union president Jerry Dias said he expects the investment to be primarily funded by GM, to revive the defunct assembly line and restore paint and body shops

The restored plant would recall 175 laid-off workers, and Dias said it could create around 2,000 jobs after vehicle production resumes in January 2022, with a second shift in March 2022 and work on the second vehicle starting in May 2022 Up to 2,500 workers could be needed if a third shift is added in July 2022, Dias said at a press conference in Toronto

Dias noted that some of the former Oshawa GM employees have since moved to new positions and some of the buildings there have already been leased or sold there. About 60 workers have made masks for the government

The union and company plan to speak with former settled or laid-off employees and other members of the Oshawa community as they try to find the right skills for the new jobs, Dias said.

The closure of the Oshawa plant – which began operations in 1907 and was taken over by General Motors in 1918, was « devastating, » said Dias GM said last year that the plant would become a partial stamping and testing facility for autonomous vehicles

Dias said the company and the union agreed in May 2019 to ‘suspend’ production at the plant, rather than shutting down facilities permanently

« GM agreed that we would maintain the integrity of the plant, a plant that has a world-class paint shop. But the bottom line was that we maintain the ability to build vehicles in the future. self was the key to what we were able to accomplish in May 2019, ”said Dias

« They can’t let a factory sit there for four or five years with nothing, because then the infrastructure becomes obsolete So a solution had to be found immediately. We had to get people back to work immediately »

Several Ontario auto parts and services companies have also closed after GM’s downsizing in Oshawa last year Dias said he expects many jobs to return for manufacturing « bulky » parts, such as seats, which are difficult to ship elsewhere

Dias also said he believed GM union jobs in Woodstock, Ont. and St Catharines, Ont are safe under the three-year interim deal While up to half of St Catharines workers were on the verge of being sacked ahead of negotiations, GM agreed to invest $ 109 million there, as well as about half a million dollars in Woodstock to secure 74 jobs

In total, Dias estimates the CEO could spend around $ 1.4 billion under the deal, which includes building transmissions for the Chevy Equinox and a new program for the Corvette

The deal with GM was fought hard as the parties agreed to continue past the midnight strike deadline and the leaders traveled to Canada to participate

The tentative deal with General Motors is the union’s latest deal with the big US automakers Previous deals with Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also included pledges of billions of dollars in new investment in Canada

Contrary to promises from Ford and FCA, Dias said talks with GM do not focus on electric vehicle production.The future of the Oshawa plant is one of many sticking points in talks overnight, he said, as the renovation of the electric vehicle production plant would take several years and the union did not want the plant to remain vacant

“We negotiated with Detroit Three in August 2020 in the midst of an unbelievably devastating pandemic, COVID-19,” said Dias “But we have entered into contract negotiations with the Detroit Three, understanding that we need to consolidate the automotive industry footprint here in Canada »

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General Motors, Unifor, GM Oshawa Car Assembly, Automotive Industry, GM Canada

World News – CA – GM Announces Pickup Truck Production to Return to Oshawa Plant with a new Unifor agreement


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