A century of automaking ends in Oshawa next week
December 11, 2019
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A 100-year history of auto assembly in Oshawa will end next week, as GM officials have confirmed that the last vehicle will roll off the line sometime during the week of Dec. 16.
“The Oshawa Assembly plant will transform into a parts manufacturing operation starting in 2020,” GM director of communications Jennifer Wright told Oshawa Durham Region News via email. “Vehicle assembly production is expected to be completed the week of Dec. 16. Final dates are yet to be official.”
GM announced in November 2018 that it would be ending auto assembly in Oshawa, but last spring announced that it would continue to manufacture parts and employ 300 people at its sprawling GM plant. The company is also building an autonomous vehicle and smart technology test track on the Oshawa site.
Unifor Local 222 president Colin James told Durham Region News the union has been told that production will be wrapped up at GM and at supplier plants between the 16th and 18th.
He said he was in the plant on Monday and the feeling was bittersweet, with some workers preparing for retirement while others faced an unknown future.
“The ones that do not have jobs to go to and still have careers to work, it’s difficult not knowing the certainty of their future,” he said.
Unifor Local 222 is set to lose roughly two thirds of its membership or 4,300 workers due to the closures, said James. That means re-evaluating the future and potentially downsizing from its union hall on Phillip Murray Avenue. For now, the union hall will act as the action centre for supplier plant workers looking for support in moving on to new careers.
“We’re going to do everything we can to maintain our facility but there’s a possibility we’ll move on,” said James. “It’s one of those things I never thought I’d see with General Motors stopping the building of cars (in Oshawa), it’s something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime of losing the number of members we’re losing with Local 222, it’s sad to see.”
(Durham Region News)