Save Oshawa GM. Jan 7, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Unifor Canada)

Unifor still fighting to keep GM Oshawa plant alive

An announcement is expected on Tuesday regarding the outcome of a Unifor and General Motors (GM) meeting, as the fight to save the Oshawa assembly plant continues.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias will again meet with the automaker Tuesday afternoon to see what it thinks of union proposals presented during a high ranking meeting December 20. Dias said the Unifor team presented a few options to GM, including extending the production of trucks that are currently being built in Oshawa and are selling well along with extending the production of two car models at that plant.

Dias will hold a news conference at the Unifor Local 444/200 Hall at Turner Road and Tecumseh Road in Windsor on Tuesday at 4 p.m. following the latest meeting.

“Unifor presented General Motors with solid options last month to maintain production in Oshawa,” said Dias. “Our position is clear that we expect GM to allocate product and continue plant operations past 2019.”

Dias said GM promised to review the options they were presented and issue a formal response to Unifor by January 7.

Unifor added that Canadians bailed out GM with nearly $11 billion when it was on the verge of bankruptcy a decade ago and emphasized that if it wants to sell in Canada, it needs to build in Canada.

“We are making sure Canadians understand that GM is betraying Canadian taxpayers and the automaker needs to realize that if they expect Canadian consumers to remain loyal to GM vehicles, they need to be loyal to GM workers and keep building here,” Dias said.

The union will also host a major solidarity rally on Friday at 11 a.m. at Dieppe Gardens in Windsor.

GM Canada issued a statement via Twitter December 20 that it hoped would “set the record straight” concerning the automaker’s plans for Oshawa. The statement said GM remains committed to Oshawa by keeping its Canadian headquarters there, as well as keeping a presence at the Oshawa Technical Centre.

GM also said it has 5,000 employees that will remain in Canada once the idling is complete and that it has spent millions of dollars helping the affected Oshawa workers access transition services.