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Workers return to GM's Canada plant; union to meet Trudeau

30 November 2018

"We're taking our stand". After the announcement, hundreds of workers walked off the job today.

Frank Gunn/Canadian Press The GM plant in Oshawa on January 24, 2018.

This morning, dozens of workers were seen walking out of the Oshawa Assembly Plant, with some saying they were very unhappy with news of the planned closure.

GM has said the closures announced Monday - auto plants in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland are also poised to close - are necessary because of shifts in consumer buying patterns.

GM Canada facilities in St. Catharines and Ingersoll were spared in Monday's cuts.

The decision is "devastating" for workers at the plant and auto suppliers, but Oshawa has adapted over the years and will survive this as well, DesRosiers added.

"There are people in there bawling their eyes out", said one worker, his voice choked with emotion.

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"Cause you see we're sick and exhausted of General motors shipping all of our jobs to Mexico".

Others expressed disappointment but suggested they were unsurprised by the decision.

Outgoing Oshawa Mayor John Henry told CTV Toronto's Miranda Anthistle that he's hoping the plant closure is "just a rumour" because GM is a "huge economic engine to the community".

First, for those who work in the auto industry, I want you to know that today's news has nothing to do with the quality of the work you do. "So we're growing faster than anyone in the industry in new technology, at the same time as we're unfortunately going through next year this really hard change with regard to our manufacturing base in Canada".

Ford added: "To say we're disappointed is an understatement". They never did any investment here. Oshawa now makes the Impala, a model which some suspect is headed for extinction. "It was right for closure". But he noted the former head of GM Canada, Steve Carlisle, was determined it wouldn't close on his watch.

Production reached its peak in the 1980s after a almost $8-billion investment GM's Canadian manufacturing facilities, making Oshawa "Autoplex" one of the biggest assembly plants in the world, boasting a workforce of over 40,000. "It doesn't surprise me".

"They are not closing our damn plant without one hell of a fight".

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"Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement", the union's statement said.

Unifor president Jerry Dias raised concerns Tuesday that General Motors might indeed leave Canada entirely now that it only produces one vehicle in the country, the Chevrolet Equinox.

"We aren't giving up", he told workers.

The grim announcement was a topic of conversation over breakfast at an Oshawa diner.

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, a New Democrat, told CP24 that "if the news is true", then Oshawa is "bracing ourselves for a fight". My heart goes out to the families affected as well as the entire community.

"We've always kind of been identified as a factory city, so to have that identifier taken away is odd", Cecily Minniti noted.

In addition, to the 2,500 direct jobs lost, the closure threatens to obliterate the local economy.

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"The surrounding businesses are going to be affected massively, from the mom and pop restaurants to the mall, people are going to be cautious about their spending", said Kyle Douglas, the president of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.

Workers return to GM's Canada plant; union to meet Trudeau