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11 January 2019, 11:10 | Austin Hogan
Union head to discuss fate of GM Oshawa plant - 680 NEWS
The head of Canada's auto union blasted General Motors for pushing ahead with plans to phase out work at its Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant despite calls by workers and politicians in Canada to find a new vehicle to build there. GM said they were not economically viable.
On Tuesday, Unifor National President, Jerry Dias met with GM officials in Detroit to discuss options the union had submitted last month to keep the plant open.
"It's about corporate greed", said Dias.
The closure of Oshawa's GM plant will immediately result in the loss of a combined 4,400 jobs on the assembly line and at parts manufacturers across Ontario and the job loss will only grow over time, a union-commissioned study has found.
An angry Dias spoke to media in Windsor after Tuesday's meeting.
A union spokesperson said workers are returning back on the production line.
The president of the union representing Canadian autoworkers says his members don't have the same government support that American autoworkers enjoy in their efforts to convince General Motors to keep plants from shutting down.
Dias previously promised "one hell of a fight" to prevent the Oshawa plant's closure.
A variety of armoured reconnaissance vehicles, gun tractors and softskin trucks lined up at the GM Oshawa plant in October 1942.
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The company acknowledged the frustration that led to the work stoppages, but urged the union to instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the approximately 2,600 unionized workers who are losing their jobs. GM says it has identified job opportunities and is willing to pay for retraining.
Dias alleged company officials had "acknowledged they could continue to build the programs that are now in place in Oshawa", and keeping the plant open "wouldn't hurt the company's bottom line".
Unifor has refused to consider negotiations on a shutdown of Oshawa.
GM officials have said the fate of the US plants is subject to talks with the United Auto Workers union, which represents the USA workers at those plants.
Workers on the evening shift Tuesday night also stopped working, causing the assembly line to stop.
The union is also hosting a solidarity rally on Friday in Windsor, Ontario.
With the GM world headquarters towers looming in the Detroit background, a billboard message from Unifor on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor, shown January 8, 2019, has a message about the automaker's Oshawa Assembly Plant.
Hundreds of workers walked off the job at the Oshawa plant in protest on the day GM announced its plans.
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