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GM refuses to back down from planned Oshawa plant closure, union vows to keep fighting

Emily Jackson – Financial Post

January 8, 2019

General Motors refused to budge from its plans to stop producing vehicles at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, yet Unifor Canada vowed to keep fighting to save the facility that employs nearly 3,000 people despite the apparent dead end.

GM and Unifor representatives met Tuesday at GM’s corporate headquarters in Detroit to discuss the union’s seven proposals to keep the Oshawa plant operating after GM announced in November it would stop allocating production to the facility in 2019 as part of a larger restructuring that will shutter eight facilities, including four in the U.S. GM expects the cuts will save $6 billion annually, money it intends to invest in “future technologies” such as self-driving cars and electric vehicles.

But Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, won’t count out Unifor from getting some sort of deal.

“Until they turn the lights off, it’s always prudent to keep trying,” Volpe said.

Unifor got product allocated to Oshawa during the 2016 round of bargaining when many observers thought that was impossible, Volpe said.

On the question of public funding, Volpe said Canada shouldn’t dismiss the idea outright given the losses associated with closure. He noted that GM fulfilled its repayment obligations under the last bailout.

Volpe acknowledged that investors have responded positively to the restructuring from a product perspective and capacity utilization perspective, but said GM is “so much more than the stock ticker.

“It is entrenched in communities across North America, including Oshawa,” he said. “It goes down to a deeper question of, does a commercial entity have an obligation to community loyalty.”

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Flavio Volpe Discusses Oshawa and Jerry Dias

Jan. 8, 2019, CP24

Click here for link to Video.

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