Toronto, Ontario – The president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) said that he is both “frustrated and angered” by the news that General Motors plans to close its transmission plant in Windsor, Ontario in 2010, putting 1,400 employees out of work.
“This decision came as an incredible shock,” said Buzz Hargrove. “It will be devastating to our members, their families and the community of Windsor.” Hargrove also blamed the federal government for having “written off” the auto industry. “Until the federal Conservative government addresses the issues of unfair trade, the ongoing loss of Big Three market share, the high dollar and provides new investment supports, there will be more layoffs and more plant closures.”
The plant, which manufactures four-speed transmissions for front-wheel drive vehicles, is the last GM operation in Windsor, which is across the river from Detroit. The closure will mark the first time in decades that the company has not had a presence in the community. GM said that it is closing the plant because consumers prefer more fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmissions, and that it does not have a product to substitute at the plant.
The CAW is currently in negotiations with General Motors, with a final settlement depending largely on the company’s commitment to new products, as well as improved pensions and severance packages for the Windsor workforce, the union said. The news comes just weeks after GM announced it plans to drop the second production shift at its truck plant in Oshawa, Ontario, which will affect close to 1,000 jobs.