Decision on whether to keep GM plant open won’t be made “until well into 2016”

The workers and residents of Oshawa are in for at least a year and a half of uncertainty concerning the viability and continuity of GM’s assembly facilities.

In a release sent out yesterday, newly-minted President and Managing Director of General Motors Canada, Stephen K. Carlisle, laid out a timeline.

“We want our community to understand the timing for this next round of decisions. We are going to be careful and are not expecting to be deciding on any major new mandates or investments in Oshawa until well into 2016,” the release stated, attributed to Mr. Carlisle.

As we reported last year, GM’s “vitality agreement” will be fulfilled in 2016. One line at Oshawa assembly is already slated for closure in 2016 while another, much newer, production line has a more uncertain future.  The line slated to be shut down in 2016 currently produces the previous-generation Chevrolet Impala as well as the Equinox, which is slated to be produced exclusively in Ingersoll for its next generation.

While Carlisle says GM’s relationship with Unifor, the union representing Oshawa factory workers, is “good” and has “every faith that their leadership understands the central role they will play as we move forward,” Carlisle explained certain talks must be had before Oshawa continuity is assured.

“One key milestone is that we must complete our 2016 union contract negotiations before we can make any final decisions.”

Unifor national president, Jerry Dias, doesn’t see it that way.

“We’re going to continue to push GM to make a decision, taking into account that the Oshawa operations are highly competitive,” said Dias.

“We’re actively engaged in discussions with GM as are the provincial and federal governments to find a solution. We believe that we will be able to find a solution and that a decision on a new product for Oshawa should and can be made now.”

Unifor represents 3,700 workers at GM in Oshawa.


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