GM delivers blow to Oshawa, Ont. workers in restructuring plan
General Motors Co. (GM.N) announced Monday a global restructuring that includes plans to shutter five North American plants by December 2019 if the automaker and its unions don’t come up with a plan to allocate more work to the selected factories.
Another two will close outside North America.
The move will impact thousands of well-paying jobs for salaried staff and factory workers, including at its facility in Oshawa, Ont.
Here’s how leaders in Canada are reacting to GM’s plan.
“Unifor does not accept the closure of the plant as a foregone conclusion. Oshawa has been in this situation before with no product on the horizon and we were able to successfully make the case for continued operations. We will vigorously fight again to maintain these good-paying auto jobs.” - Unifor National President Jerry Dias
“GM workers have been part of the heart and soul of Oshawa for generations – and we’ll do everything we can to help the families affected by this news get back on their feet.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
“Nobody in my community has had a good night’s sleep because of how the news was broken last night with all the uncertainty. And I know that my friends and neighbours and the workers in the community have closed down the plant today and that they’re not going to take this lying down – I can’t help but understand that. They have invested so much in GM Canada that we would expect to see them continue to do that here. This is blindsiding, quite frankly. ” – Oshawa MPP Jennifer French
“Are we disappointed? Yeah, we’re disappointed in GM. We supported GM, as everyone remembers, years ago when they were in trouble … So many people say, ‘Doug, you must be stressed out.’ Do you want to hear what stress is? Stress is a family that has three kids, the spouse is at home and the other spouse comes home and says, ‘I just lost my job at GM.’ That’s stress.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford
“Our priority is to help the GM employees whose lives were turned upside down this morning. We will do everything we can to support them in these difficult times.” – Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains
“Whether you’re in Calgary or you’re in Ontario or Nova Scotia – doesn’t matter. What’s the policy to take care of employees when there’s a plant closing? And it can’t only be the government, but the companies need to participate in paying for their retraining.” – Former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda
“I think it’s very important in a humanitarian way, but also, at least in my perspective, whenever we were in a situation where we had to downsize in various regions – not just in Canada, but elsewhere – what we always said was that the way we treat the people that are leaving is awfully important to the people that are staying. If you don’t do that you’re having a double-negative both to your continued operations and to the people that are leaving.” – Former Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan
“This is more than just manufacturing cars and pickup trucks. This is about people who go to work every day and it’s people that build trucks … The effects in Oshawa are part of it, but this is going to affect communities throughout Ontario and the United States because we have parts suppliers everywhere.”– Oshawa Mayor John Henry
“It’s very important to maintain our automotive footprint in North America. I think the key thing is to have assembly plants in Ontario, and I think it’s very important that we’re competitive. There’s a lot of things people can do to make sure we’re competitive, whether it’s tax policy, employment policy, labour rules, energy costs and so forth.” – Martinrea Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Rob Wildeboer