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GM, Unifor resume talks

Priority placed on saving jobs in Oshawa

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Unifor has conceded General Motors will move forward with closing the Oshawa assembly plant later this year, but will still fight to save jobs in the city.

National president Jerry Dias met with company officials on March 19, continuing what Unifor calls “constructive negotiations” that began in late-February.

“I am much more confident than I was a month ago that together we will find a resolution,” Dias said in a media statement. “While some of our members qualify for retirement, others need ongoing good paying jobs to support their families. We are committed to work with GM to find solutions for both.”

Unifor officials noted “while it is clear to the union that GM has no intention of extending vehicle manufacturing beyond December of 2019,” they are examining the possibility to “transform operations” as to maintain a base level of hourly employment.

The parties will continue to meet over the next few weeks.

Dias also announced the union has suspended its “#SaveOshawaGM” campaign for the time being.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board recently directed Unifor to cease what it deemed “illegal strike activities” in protest of the pending closure.

GM announced its intention to shut down the Oshawa assembly plant in November 2018.

It is believed approximately 2,500 jobs within the plant will be affected, although Unifor says the number will be much more when considering other businesses, such as part suppliers, that rely on the plant’s operations.