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Canadian Auto Workers Walk Out After GM Announces Plant Closing

December 2, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

OSHAWA, Ontario—Workers at the General Motors plant here walked out Nov. 26 after the company announced it was one of five that will be closed by the end of 2019. “They are not closing our damn plant without one hell of a fight,” Unifor President Jerry Dias told a rally outside the factory. The closing could eliminate 2,500 jobs in Oshawa, 1,600 at Lordstown in Ohio, 1,500 in Detroit-Hamtramck, and 645 at transmission factories in the Detroit suburb of Warren and outside Baltimore. “We are taking this action now while the company and the economy are strong to keep ahead of changing market conditions,” GM CEO Mary Barra told reporters. She indicated that the facilities might be retooled to produce electric or self-driving vehicles. GM acquired the Oshawa plant, about 40 miles east of Toronto, from Buick in 1953, and employed 23,000 workers there in the 1980s. “Unifor does not accept the closure of the plant as a foregone conclusion,” Dias said, contending that it would violate the union’s contract with GM. “I’ve moved my family twice for this company, and they do this to me,” 28-year worker Ray Beenen told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “It’s terrible.” Read more

December 2, 2018

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