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Built in Oshawa does matter

Re: “Thousands sign petition,” July 20, 2016

Dear Editor,

As an autoworker, I have felt the effects of plant closure. I first worked for GM in London, Ont. in 1989. To stay with GM, I came to Oshawa in 2003, where there were two plants, car and truck, eight shifts working. I soon met other displaced workers from Ste Therese, Scarborough, Windsor and St. Catharines.

We went from 18,000 in the 1990s. Today we are down to three shifts, with less than 3,000 working. Two lines are shut down in one plant alone. Currently, I work in the paint shop, in my 27th year with GM.

Driving on Simcoe Road through Oshawa, I can easily see the effects this downward spiral has had with job losses and the effect on the city. The closed stores and payday advance shops are everywhere. There are 5,600 direct jobs in the auto industry in Oshawa (parts, shipping and local suppliers), building 718 vehicles per day. Workers put $257,000 per day into the local municipal taxes, providing the funds for regional services. There are seven spin off jobs for every GM job outside the industry as well. GM has not announced any new product for this plant – I wonder how many local businesses are going to close if GM leaves? How many local businesses have decided not to expand due to the uncertainty of GM? Will this award winning auto city continue to provide good jobs like it has for 100 years, or will greed move it outside the country?

Dave Dickhout