Despite record profits, General Motors will close five of its facilities in North America next year, including its plant in Oshawa, Ontario, where it employs approximately 2,500 union members.
Assemblies in the Detroit area of Michigan and Ohio will suffer the same fate as Oshawa. Facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, and Warren, Michigan, too. Approximately 8,000 positions will no longer exist in Canada and the United States.
Two other factories elsewhere in the world will also close next year, but GM has not named them in its release. However, this is not the Gunsan plant in South Korea, whose closure had already been announced by the US company.
“These actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be an agile, resilient and profitable company, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future,” said GM President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra .
Established in 1953, the Oshawa plant manufactures the Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models, according to Global News.
GM plans to stop making several models including the Volt, Cruze and Impala. The manufacturer wants to focus on the most profitable vehicles, including light trucks and SUVs, compared to gasoline cars whose sales are declining.
The manufacturer also wants to focus on the production of autonomous and 100% electric vehicles. He also intends to double his investments in this area.
“The industry is changing quickly,” said Mary Barra. I think it’s appropriate to move forward while industry and the economy are strong. ”
Due to rumors of closure, Oshawa union members walked off Monday morning waiting for official news from the company.
Unifor Union believes that a change of course by GM is still possible even if no vehicle assembly is planned after December 2019 at this location.
“Unifor does not accept closure as an inevitable conclusion. Oshawa has already been in this position before with no vehicles on the horizon and we have been able to assert our position to continue operations. We will vigorously fight to keep these high-paying auto jobs, “said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president.
He pointed out that the Oshawa plant received $ 500 million worth of investment to be the only one in North America able to assemble both trucks and cars.
GM’s Oshawa facility had already been cut in 2015 when the Camaro assembly was transferred to Michigan.
The state lost about $ 2.8 billion in loans to GM in Canada in 2009, which have never been repaid.
The union representing American workers also denounced the cutbacks in the United States.
“This ruthless decision by GM to reduce or stop production in US factories, while starting or increasing production in factories in Mexico or China and then selling to US consumers, is a deeply damaging way for employees to act. Americans, “said Terry Dittes of the United Auto Workers Union.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his “deep disappointment” on Monday.
“For generations, GM workers have been the heart and soul of Oshawa,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. We will do everything we can to help target families get back on their feet. Yesterday [Sunday], I spoke to GM’s Mary Barra to express my deep disappointment at the closure of the plant. ”
His federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, noted that his government supports the automotive industry, which is concentrated in Ontario, and is working on a plan to encourage the construction of vehicles that do not emit fuel. greenhouse gas.
For his part, the leader of the official opposition, Andrew Scheer, denounced this closure.
“Today’s news [Monday] is devastating for thousands of families in southern Ontario who have been dependent on the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa for decades to earn a living. This closing is the end of a long and proud tradition in Oshawa, which has hosted GM for more than 100 years, “said the Conservative leader in a statement.