General Motors Oshawa plant workers stage sit-down strike

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GM officials say they have been contacted by more than 20 large employers across Durham Region and the GTA interested in hiring GM workers for up to 5,000 positions they plan to fill over the next two years.

"What is equally disappointing is there was a clear acknowledgement that a solution could be found", Dias said, adding that GM recognized that it could continue operating its Oshawa facility without hurting the company's bottom line.

On Tuesday, GM Canada's Vice president of Corporate Affairs David Paterson told The Canadian Press that the union should work with the automaker to help retrain the estimated 2,600 employees that will be impacted by the plant closure and transition them to new opportunities.

In November, the same Oshawa GM workers staged a one day wildcat strike walking out of the plant.

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"Having completed an analysis of Unifor's proposals, GM has determined that it can not pursue them because they would not combat the declining economic and market factors that must be addressed", the company said in a letter from GM Canada president Travis Hester and labour relations vice president Gerald Johnson.

"There have been strategic decisions to move products from Canada to Mexico", Dias said.

After he returned from the meeting with GM, Dias told reporters in a press conference in Windsor, Ontario, that the union was looking at its legal options regarding whether the Detroit company violated the labor contract. "That's the only acceptable solution as we stand here today". "When I was young in Oshawa, there were 10 times as many people working there - 75 per cent of my high school class went to work in General Motors". The question is do they have the political will to do so. They don't care about workers or Canadians.

Unifor's national auto director Dino Chiodo, former president of Local 444 in Windsor, also expressed his frustration with GM executives following Tuesday's meeting.

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Unifor members began a sit-down protest Wednesday morning and stopped production, a union spokeswoman said.

The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.

With the GM world headquarters towers looming in the Detroit background, a billboard message from Unifor on Wyandotte Street East in Windsor, shown January 8, 2019, has a message about the automaker's Oshawa Assembly Plant.

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