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27 November 2018, 12:31 | Tara Lloyd
GM Reportedly Plans to Close Its Factory in Oshawa, Canada, Leaving 2500 Jobless
The list of assembly plants that will be "unallocated" next year includes the Oshawa factory in Ontario, Detroit-Hamtramck in MI and Lordstown in Ohio.
General Motors rallied as much as 8% Monday after announcing plans to stop producing vehicles at three factories in North America and to cut its salaried employees by 15% next year.
Among the plants that could shut is the Detroit/Hamtramck assembly plant - which makes low-demand vehicles such as the Chevrolet Impala and the Buick LaCrosse. "Lordstown has been part of the GM family for more than 50 years so it's painful to see this happen to the plant's workers, their families and the community".
In a statement, Governor John Kasich said the news was "frustrating" but said he would work with GM to try to preserve the plant.
"We have a collective agreement that says they're not closing any of our facilities ... so we will do anything by any means to make sure that they live up to their word", Jerry Dias said at a press conference in a packed union hall.
"While the union does not have complete details of the overall announcement we have been informed that, as of now, there is no product allocated to the Oshawa Assembly Plant past December 2019", read the statement. The company said it is aiming to save $6.5 billion in "cost efficiencies" through 2018. He said companies in the industrial and technology sectors could continue to tap the Strategic Innovation Fund for government supports. As a first step, I will be authorizing Employment Ontario to deploy its Rapid Re-Employment and Training Services program to provide impacted local workers with targeted local training and jobs services to help them regain employment as quickly as possible.
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The company also said the plan would make the company more efficient, saving it $6 billion a year by the end of 2020.
Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French spoke to the reports of the closure and says this is a heavy blow for the city and says the decision must be fought. Additionally, GM plans to cut two drivetrain facilities: Baltimore Operations in Maryland and the Warren Transmission plant in MI.
The General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant has been building vehicles in Oshawa since 1953, GM says on its website.
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GM will also close two additional plants outside of North America by next year.
That's cold comfort for Darryl Donnithorne 38, who said he was laid off by GM when it closed its Oshawa truck plant in 2008, He just got hired back a couple of months ago to install windshields on the pickups sent from Indiana. The United Auto Workers union, which represents employees at GM's US factories, said in an emailed statement that it will challenge GM's decision through legal, contractual, and collective bargaining means.
The restructuring reflects the changing US and North American auto markets as a dramatic shift away from cars toward SUVs and trucks continues.
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The four American plants employ a combined 3,800 hourly and salaried staff, and the Oshawa facility employs 2,200. But the automaking leader of the future may not be GM or one of its traditional rivals. The Impala is built at the GM plant in Oshawa. The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid will also be dropped along with the Chevy Cruze compact (which is sold as the Holden Astra sedan here and built in Korea), which will be made in Mexico for other markets.
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