Unifor #SaveOshawaGM campaign calls on Canadians to stand with workers

December 13, 2018

OSHAWA – Unifor has launched its #SaveOshawaGM campaign with a nationwide call to support autoworkers and to keep good jobs in the country.

“We’re asking Canadians to stand with working people and against a company that expects us to remain loyal customers while it strips away jobs from its workers, those employed in spin off jobs, and the communities that depend upon them,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Together we can send a clear message to GM that we do not, and will not, accept this unprincipled act of corporate greed.”

Today the union unveiled its Tree of Hope in Oshawa’s Memorial Park, decorated with #SaveOshawaGM ornaments and surrounded by a banner with messages of support for the workers.

Unifor is asking Canadians to visit SaveOshawaGM.ca to order a free #SaveOshawaGM ornament to display on their tree and on social media using the hashtag #SaveOshawaGM. Those in the Oshawa area are invited to visit the Tree of Hope to sign the banner.

Despite earning $6 billion U.S. so far this year, General Motors has announced it intends to end production at the Oshawa Assembly Plant after 2019.

Unifor represents 2,600 workers at Oshawa GM and 2,700 more at auto parts suppliers that service the plant. It is estimated that every direct job in auto assembly creates seven other jobs, meaning thousands of additional jobs would be lost in the wider economy.

“The decision to abandon this plant is a slap in the face to workers, to the people of Oshawa and to Canadian taxpayers who all contributed not only to GM’s success but to keep the company alive when it was in real danger,” said Colin James, President of Unifor Local 222.

Taxpayers stepped up to support GM a decade ago, providing billions when the company went through bankruptcy protection. Workers also sacrificed wages and made other concessions to keep the company afloat. In 2016, GM signed an agreement with Unifor stating that “…the Company will not, except as otherwise agreed to by the parties, close or sell any plant or ongoing business, in whole or in part, covered by this Agreement.”

“GM is reneging on its commitment, putting the livelihoods of thousands of workers in jeopardy,” added Dias. “At a time of year when employees should be celebrating with friends and families, people are worrying for their futures.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).

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