NUPGE statement on GM Oshawa announcement

NUPGE unequivocally stands in solidarity with the members of UNIFOR and all workers employed at GM’s Oshawa Assembly plant.

Ottawa (28 Nov. 2018) — The National Union of Public and General Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms the November 26 announcement by the General Motors Company of the closure of the assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario. We unequivocally stand in solidarity with the members of UNIFOR and all workers employed at GM’s Oshawa Assembly plant.

Completely unacceptable

GM must live up to its legal responsibilities to Oshawa: GM cannot renege on its contract made in the 2016 round of collective bargaining to commit to new investments and products at the Oshawa Assembly plant.

“This announcement is completely unacceptable,” said Larry Brown, President of NUPGE. “GM registered US$6 billion in profits in the first 3 quarters of 2018, and North America is responsible for 90 per cent of GM’s global profits, he noted. “And not only that, the highly skilled workers at Oshawa Assembly made it GM’s most decorated plant. So there’s no economic sense to closing this plant—it is simply not justifiable.”

Brown added, “The fact that a highly successful and profitable corporation would, for the sake of shareholders’ returns on investment, undermine the economic destiny of these dedicated workers, their families, and the city of Oshawa is a moral outrage. It’s also something that our elected leaders have a duty to address. We reject the very premise that this decision is a foregone conclusion driven solely by market forces. The management of General Motors has made a choice, and this must be reconsidered.”

“General Motors Company cannot simply be allowed to get away with this,” said Brown. “They literally owe it to the people of Canada to protect autoworker jobs because Canadians gave (and GM readily accepted) billions of dollars of government money to bail out the company when it declared bankruptcy in 2009.”

NUPGE rejects announcement, demands government action

NUPGE joins UNIFOR and the labour movement in rejecting this announcement as a final decision. We do not accept the closure of the plant as a fait accompli.  Therefore we demand the following:

1. Based on commitments GM made during the contract negotiations of 2016, we are calling on GM to live up to the letter and spirit of that agreement by allocating new product to the Oshawa Assembly plant past its current run date of December 2019.

2. We demand that the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario work together and take a more forceful leadership role in stopping this decision, and to refusing it as a foregone conclusion. If they are sincere in their rhetoric about promoting jobs and being governments for the people, they must now put their words into action and defend workers and their families.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE