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Unifor calls for boycott of Mexican-built GM vehicles

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The head of Unifor has called for Canadian and American consumers to boycott GM vehicles built in Mexico.

National president Jerry Dias made the plea during a media conference in Toronto on Jan. 25.

“We want you to only buy GM vehicles that are made only in Canada and the United States,” he said.

Dias urged the call for the boycott is not “an attack on Mexican workers.”

“We’re asking Canadians to stand up to corporate greed,” he says.

According to Dias, consumers can tell if a car was built in Mexico if the VIN number starts with a three.

“If the VIN starts with three, the vehicle is not for me,” Dias said.

The boycott call came on the heels of Oshawa plant workers and other union members setting up blockades at the company’s Canadian headquarters.

In a press release, General Motors warned such a boycott “could create collateral damage cross the Ontario economy which has 60 Ontario-based auto parts companies supporting Mexico production.”

In addition, Unifor members make transmissions and stamp body panels that go into Mexican-made vehicles sold in Canada at the company’s St. Catharines and Ingersoll plants.

“The threat of collateral damage for Ontario-based auto suppliers, auto dealers and workers is concerning, especially for an Ontario economy that is now open for business, with every opportunity to now benefit from increased trade with Mexico,” said David Paterson, GM Canada vice-president.

During the protest at company headquarters, Dias said he would never call for a full boycott of General Motors because it would have a negative effect on workers in plants that are not scheduled for closure.

Dias also called for the company to live up to a 2016 contract with workers he says guaranteed no plant closures during the term of the agreement.

“Based on General Motors’ commitment, our young members went out and bought homes, bought new cars, and started families. People made decisions based on General Motors’ commitment and General Motors does not have the right to go against their written word,” Dias said.

Dias questioned the company’s decision to close numerous plants in Canada and the U.S. while expanding operations in Mexico.

“When you say that you build where you sell, you aren’t telling the truth.”

He said the company would be producing more than one million cars annually in Mexico, but only sells approximately 240,000 vehicles in the country each year.