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Short reprieve for third shift

Auto plant shift slated to end next month gets four-week extension

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Workers at Oshawa Assembly expecting to lose a shift next month are receiving a bit of a break.

Ron Svajlenko, the president of Unifor Local 222, the union which represents employees at the General Motors production facility, says that due to growing demand, the plant’s third shift is hanging around a little bit longer.

“If you go back to the original announcements, (GM) actually planned to shut down the third shift on Nov. 22. That’s been moved back to Dec. 18,” Svajlenko tells The Oshawa Express. “That’s more on the demand for the vehicles that we’re currently producing. The Buick is up a bit, the Impala significantly up.”

An initial report from the Windsor Star said that the production of the Chevrolet Camaro – slated to move south of the border to GM’s production facility in Lansing, Michigan next month – was the reason behind the delay in the shift’s end.

However, Svajlenko says that isn’t the case, and he’s content that the shift’s extension is due to the plant’s current vehicles selling well.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s better with our current product selling better rather than giving us another month of Camaro because if it’s going anyways, it’s just short-term gain for long-term pain,” he says.

General Motors announced in April that it would be cutting the Oshawa workforce by 1,000 due to the shift of Camaro production to Michigan, offering retirement incentives to eligible employees in order to prevent laying off workers.

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