Workers at General Motors’ Oshawa Assembly Plant outside of Toronto have returned to work after a brief sit-down strike this week that began a few hours after GM rejected a plan proposed by their union to keep the plant open until the end of 2019.
“The workers were so upset they couldn’t work. They couldn’t believe that General Motors had announced that all their hard work was going to be rewarded by canceling their livelihoods, by telling them the plant is closing,” Greg Moffatt, the plant chair representing Unifor workers at GM’s Oshawa facility, told reporters late Tuesday evening, according to Canadian Press.
Production resumed Wednesday, however, but leaders of union representing some 3,000 Canadian automakers in Oshawa have vowed to continue the fight to save the plant.
Workers also staged an unauthorized work stoppage back in November when GM first announced it planned to halt production as soon as this spring in Oshawa on site that has been used for building vehicles for more than a century.
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“I can send General Motors a message right now: We’re not going to lay down. We’re proud people, we’re proud Canadians, and I believe Canadians and taxpayers are behind the workers in the city of Oshawa,” Moffatt said.
The latest work stoppage came after Unifor president Jerry Dias met with GM representatives to talk about the proposals the union that would have extended the life of the Ontario plant but came away empty-handed. “I am deeply disappointed by the response from the corporation,” said Dias at a press conference in Windsor, Ontario.
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The union proposal included extending the life of the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS currently produced at the plant or shifting production slated for Mexico to the plant, said David Paterson, vice president of corporate affairs at GM Canada told the Canadian Press.
Unifor, which contends GM has violated its 2016 contract with the union by leaving the plant without new products to build, has launched an advertising campaign in Canada and U.S. attacking GM’s plans and threatened by launching a full-blown boycott of GM products in Canada. GM was the top seller of vehicles in Canada during 2018.
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GM also is facing pressure in the United States where Democratic and Republican Senators, as well as President Donald Trump, have attacked GM’s plans to close as many as four plants in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.