Unifor confident about saving GM jobs in Oshawa – Global News

Unifor confident about saving GM jobs in Oshawa - Global News
Unifor reports Oshawa talks with GM have been productive, suspends public campaign
Unifor, the union representing General Motors workers in Oshawa, says it is hopeful that the automotive company won’t be completely abandoning the city after holding talks with GM.

I am much more confident today than I was a month ago that, together, we will find a resolution, said Unifor president Jerry Dias in a news release.

The union said that in light of the positive talks that started Feb. 25, it had suspended its media campaign against the company. The union ran numerous ads, including a Super Bowl television spot in Canada, criticizing the companys lack of loyalty to Canadian workers and encouraging consumers to boycott GM vehicles built in Mexico.

Unifor reports productive talks with General Motors on Oshawa plant

Officials from the union, including Dias, met with senior GM officials on Tuesday to hash out a way to save some of the 2,500 jobs that will be lost once the Oshawa assembly plant closes at the end of the year.

GM announced last November that it would end production at the Oshawa plant by the end of 2019, set to affect about 2,600 union workers at the assembly plant, as part of a wider restructuring that would also see four U.S. plants close.

Unifor reports productive talks with GM on Oshawa jobs

Although Unifor says GM has no intention of extending its manufacturing past December 2019, the union believes the company may stray away from a complete closure of its Oshawa location.

According to Unifor, both sides will now focus on transforming operations in Oshawa for non-manufacturing purposes “to maintain a base level of hourly employment.”

The union says the company has been clear it wont extend vehicle manufacturing at the Oshawa plant beyond the end of the year, but that there is potential to transform operations to maintain some jobs.

READ MORE: ‘Sick and tired of being pushed around’: Union responds to GM plan to close Oshawa plant

Union president Jerry Dias, who sat down Tuesday with senior GM officials in Detroit, said a deal could be reached within weeks while declining to offer details.

Unifor suspends ad campaign against GM in hopes of saving jobs at Oshawa plant

While some of our members qualify for retirement, others need ongoing, good-paying jobs to support their families. We are committed to work with GM to find solutions for both, said Dias.

People who would be directly affected by the General Motors Oshawa plant closure stand in solidarity before Unifor National President Jerry Dias speaks during press conference asking for all Canadians and Americans to boycott all General Motors vehicles that are made in Mexico in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Although Dias said he doesn’t believe it will be a seamless transition, he’s optimistic that some type of resolution will come about that could save jobs during the upcoming negotiations.

The union said that in light of the positive talks that started Feb. 25, it had suspended its media campaign against the company. The union ran numerous ads, including a Super Bowl television spot in Canada, criticizing the companys lack of loyalty to Canadian workers and encouraging consumers to boycott GM vehicles built in Mexico.

Unifor suspends attacks on GM as parties negotiate future for Oshawa plant

After Tuesday’s meeting, Unifor also announced it will be suspending its aggressive campaign aimed at getting GM reverse the decision to close the Oshawa assembly plant.

GM announced last November that it would end production at the Oshawa plant by the end of 2019, set to affect about 2,600 union workers at the assembly plant, as part of a wider restructuring that would also see four U.S. plants close.

Since the announcement of the closure in late November 2018, Unifor has been actively fighting to get the automotive giant to stay in Oshawa, a city that relies heavily on the automotive sector.

The company has come under significant criticism for the move. U.S. President Donald Trump called GM out in a tweet Monday demanding that it keep open its plant in Lordstown, Ohio and close a plant in Mexico or China instead.

The union began constructive negotiations with GM on Feb. 25, just days after the Ontario Labour Board ruled that some of Unifor’s labour actions were unlawful.

The union says the company has been clear it wont extend vehicle manufacturing at the Oshawa plant beyond the end of the year, but that there is potential to transform operations to maintain some jobs.

The talks are meant to continue over the next few weeks, and Dias said the union will be pushing to save as many jobs as possible in the region.

The union said that in light of the positive talks that started Feb. 25, it had suspended its media campaign against the company. The union ran numerous ads, including a Super Bowl television spot in Canada, criticizing the companys lack of loyalty to Canadian workers and encouraging consumers to boycott GM vehicles built in Mexico.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias addresses General Motors assembly workers and supporters protesting the companys announcement to close its Oshawa plant during a rally in Windsor, Ont., on Jan. 11, 2019.

Unifor says it has suspended a media campaign against General Motors amid productive talks with the automaker on the future of the companys assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.

The company has come under significant criticism for the move. U.S. President Donald Trump called GM out in a tweet Monday demanding that it keep open its plant in Lordstown, Ohio and close a plant in Mexico or China instead.

The union says the company has been clear it wont extend vehicle manufacturing at the Oshawa plant beyond the end of the year, but that there is potential to transform operations to maintain some jobs.

Union president Jerry Dias, who sat down Tuesday with senior GM officials in Detroit, said a deal could be reached within weeks while declining to offer details.

The union says the company has been clear it wont extend vehicle manufacturing at the Oshawa plant beyond the end of the year, but that there is potential to transform operations to maintain some jobs.

Its about maintaining a footprint, and its about being in a position to build for the future. So Im feeling more optimistic now than I have in a long time.

He said its still unclear how the talks will end up, but that the plan is about more than maintaining empty buildings.

Were having very aggressive conversations with General Motors about a short-term fix and a long-term plan.

Do I believe a vehicle is going to fall out of the sky in the next few months so we can start building another vehicle? The answer to that is no. But are there opportunities, the answer is yes, Dias said in an interview where he described Tuesdays meeting with GMs senior leadership as pivotal.

The union said that in light of the positive talks that started Feb. 25, it had suspended its media campaign against the company. The union ran numerous ads, including a Super Bowl television spot in Canada, criticizing the companys lack of loyalty to Canadian workers and encouraging consumers to boycott GM vehicles built in Mexico.

Its not clear exactly what type of work could become available in Oshawa, but the union said the parties are discussing potential ways to transform operations to maintain a base level of hourly employment in the short- and long-term.

GM announced last November that it would end production at the Oshawa plant by the end of 2019, set to affect about 2,600 union workers at the assembly plant, as part of a wider restructuring that would also see four U.S. plants close.

The company has come under significant criticism for the move. U.S. President Donald Trump called GM out in a tweet Monday demanding that it keep open its plant in Lordstown, Ohio and close a plant in Mexico or China instead.

Dias said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeaus discussions with GM CEO Mary Barra, including a call Trudeau tweeted about Monday, have helped in discussions.

GM has noted that many workers at its Oshawa plant qualify for retirement, and it has committed to helping workers with job placements and retraining.

The company said Tuesday it continues to have discussions with Unifor with regard to supporting our people in Oshawa.