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Unifor plans to ramp up resistance after Christmas

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Unifor Members put their frustrations on display when they gathered on Ritson Road to protest the upcoming closure of the General Motors plant.

Gathered across the street from the Costco on Ritson Road, the frustration that had been building amongst the workers had become palpable, as they brandished a banner that read “GM betrayed Canadian taxpayers.”

While waving Unifor flags and blowing whistles to get peoples attention, cars were driving by and horns were honking as the Oshawa community showed their support.

Greg Moffat, the plant chair of Unifor Local 222, says they’ve gotten “tremendous support from Oshawa and the Durham region community, and I believe we’ve had lots of great stuff from right across the country.”

With the gathering of workers yelling and whistling around him, Moffat told The Oshawa Express, “What we’re hoping to do is to bring the public’s attention and turn it on General Motors, because the taxpayers in Canada and the province bailed General Motors out when they were in bankruptcy, and ten years later they’re throwing Canadians out on the street because they want to build their cars in Mexico and not in Canada.”

Visibly frustrated with the announcement, Moffat says, “This plant has been here for 100 years, we’re the number one plant they’ve got, and we deserve to build their vehicles.”

Moffat says that the next step is to continue to put public pressure on GM through the holidays, and then “after the Christmas break we’re going to ramp it up.”

The GM plant is expected to close around this time next year, and will put more than 2,500 people out of work, and while also affecting many more workers throughout the region.

Moffat explains that while they haven’t spoken to upper management yet, they have a meeting coming up on Thursday, Dec. 20 in Detroit.

He says that they’ve only been speaking to local people, such as the president of GM Canada, Stephen Carlisle, and some other Canadian executives.

“But they don’t make the decisions,” says Moffat.