Unifor President Jerry Dias says Canadian union officials will meet high-ranking General Motors executives in Detroit later this week to give the automaker more time to consider the union’s proposals to keep the Oshawa Assembly plant open.
Dias said GM officials will hold “a major internal meeting” Monday and that he will speak to them after that to arrange a day and time to meet to discuss a trio of union proposals put forth Dec. 20 to save the plant from closure. Dias and other union members met with GM officials — but not CEO Mary Barra — for about two hours that day, outlining several proposals to keep the plant operational.
General Motors originally said it would officially respond to the union’s proposals by Jan. 7, but Dias said it’s in the union’s best interest to allow the automaker all the time it needs to make a decision.
“The bottom line is that we need a solution. And the only solution is to keep Oshawa open,” Dias said.
The automaker said in November it would no longer allot product to the plant beyond 2019. It will end a shuttle program that sees unfinished outgoing models of the GM Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado shipped to Oshawa from Indiana for final assembly at the Ontario plant. GM also said it will stop making the Chevy Impala and Cadillac XTS, both of which are built in Oshawa.
The union’s proposals include launching GM’s new Blazer in Oshawa rather than Mexico, extending truck production in Oshawa, extending two existing passenger vehicle programs and bringing product back to Canada from Mexico, Dias said. The Oshawa plant is “one of the only plants in North America that can build both cars and trucks.”
Dias said he’s talked with GM since that Dec. 20 meeting, but is willing to “waiting for something more concrete.”
GM served notice to the union in November that it intends to end production in Oshawa, something the automaker had to do in accordance with the current collective bargaining agreement. But, there is nothing to say GM can’t reverse that decision.