GM to shut down Oshawa plant - thousands to be laid off

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Mighty Middle
GM to shut down Oshawa plant - thousands to be laid off

Sources inside the government have confirmed that a General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont., is set to close.

It's unclear how many employees will lose their jobs, since this is part of a larger global restructuring plan, the sources said.

In a statement, Unifor, the union representing auto workers at the plant, said they have not heard "complete details of the overall announcement" but were told that no cars are set to be assembled at the plant past December 2019.

"Based on commitments made during 2016 contract negotiations, Unifor does not accept this announcement and is immediately calling on GM to live up to the spirit of that agreement," the statement reads. 

The union said it would be holding talks with General Motors tomorrow.

"We have no news or comment tonight and won't be commenting to others on speculation," a spokesperson for GM said on Sunday. 

The plant, a 45 minute drive east of Toronto, produces cars such as the Chevrolet Impala, the Cadillac XTS and the Buick Regal. 

According to GM's website, the Oshawa Assembly Plant employs 2,522 workers with Unifor Local 222. Production began on Nov. 7, 1953. In the 1980s, the plant employed roughly 23,000 people.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry said he hopes the news is "just a rumour," and adds that he had not spoken to anyone from GM. 

 "It's going to affect the province, it's going to affect the region ... The auto industry's been a big part of the province of Ontario for over 100 years," Henry said.

 Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in April that the Oshawa complex was headed for closure in June of this year. But he noted the former head of GM Canada, Steve Carlisle, was determined it wouldn't close on his watch.

Carlisle was moved that month to head Cadillac, the global automaker's luxury car division as part of a management rotation.

At the time of the transfer, Dias said Carlisle's appointment to head Cadillac would raise his profile and influence within GM's headquarters in Detroit, and that "would be a huge benefit for us."

The Oshawa operation became a talking point for U.S. President Donald Trump during Canada-U.S. trade negotiations, according to a Toronto Star report about an off-the-record aside during an interview with Bloomberg News over the summer.

"Every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala," the U.S. president was reported to have said. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/gm-oshawa-plant-1.4920241

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Pogo Pogo's picture

The road to a greener world is going to be bumpy.

Pondering

This may threaten the new trade deal which has yet to be signed. If it is everyone for himself we should drop patent protection on pharmaceuticals and develop Canadian pharmaceuticals in our universities with nonprofits.

Mobo2000

I grew up in Oshawa and had a few summer jobs in businesses that serviced the GM plant, though I was never a unionized autoworker there.   In the 80's it employed over 25000 people, when the 4 o clock shift ended there was a traffic jam in the southern part of the downtown near the plant that lasted 40 minutes.    I was surprised to see that it now only has 2500 jobs, and soon to be none.  

Oshawa's always had somewhat of a dual character, with the southern areas being fairly low income and mostly autoworkers or retail workers, and the north end being relatively upscale, with big box mansions and lots of SUV's and boats in the driveways. 

This is terrible news, plant closure has been threatened many many times over the past decades, sad to see it finally come to pass.

quizzical

the only terribleness about this is the amount times GM has been bailed out by tax payers and still they close plants to move elsewhere.

and igara about those who vote for the likes of Ford. karma.

NDPP

Re: GM bailouts etc. "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Mobo2000

Oshawa is represented by NDP MPP Jennifer French.

Joblessness hurts regardless of who you voted for.   GM is a shitty employer, but they employed a lot of people, and this is nothing to cheer about.

WWWTT

UA local 46 plumbers pipe fitters and welders built that GM plant(mechanical) and now our sister UA local 401 supplies the experience labour during shut downs for upgrade and maintenance. 

Hopefully our brothers and sisters will be able to bounce back ASAP !

quizzical

Mobo2000 wrote:

Oshawa is represented by NDP MPP Jennifer French.

Joblessness hurts regardless of who you voted for.   GM is a shitty employer, but they employed a lot of people, and this is nothing to cheer about.

 

where was eastern Canada's anguish in respect to 100's of thousands of forestry workers when their jobs were taken away,  and this is only 2500 jobs.

im more pissed about the GM bailouts. yes it's too bad these people will lose their jobs but they give a rat's ass about 100's of thousands lost in other provinces. like currently AB. prior BC.

crickets chirping at best. or outright derision at worst.

nope nope nope no solidarity with them at all.

jerrym

I posted the following in the Canada and global warming: a state of denial thread also but I believe it has relevance here as well. 

The closing of GM's Oshawa auto plant is not just devastating for the workers who will be losing their jobs, it sends a signal about where the global automotive industry is going that has far wider implications for Canada. While a number of factors are involved in the closure, GM's shift to zero emission vehicles is a major one in a world that is shifting away from using fossil fuels in response to global warming. "General Motors is shuttering its plant in Oshawa as part of a restructuring of its global operations to focus on autonomous and zero-emission vehicles, sources say." (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-general-motors-to-shut-...)

If Canada does not push to get a share of the zero emission vehicle production market, it will eventually find it has no automotive sector as that is where the world is going. 

The global shift to zero emission vehicles also means in time there will be less need for oil production. This shift to green energy is occurring in other industries as well. So continuing to focus on expanding oil pipelines and production instead of using money to grow renewable green energy production is also going to put us out of synch with the rest of the world over time. 

AFTER MORE THAN a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.

That product onslaught puts the company at the forefront of an increasingly large crowd of automakers proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. In recent months, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced similar moves. GM’s declaration, though, is particularly noteworthy because it’s among the very largest automakers on the planet. It sold 10 million cars last year, ranging from pickups to SUVs to urban runabouts.

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Reuss did not give a date for the death knell of the GM gas- or diesel-powered car, saying the transition will happen at different speeds in different markets and regions. The new all-electric models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles. ...

The Trump Administration may be moving to roll back fuel efficiency requirements in the US, but the rest of the world is insisting on an electric age. France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all said they plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars in the coming decades. More importantly, China—the world’s largest car market—and India, a rising star, plan to join them. No automaker can compete globally without a compelling stable of electric cars.

GM intends to grab as large a slice of the Chinese market as possible. It has previously announced plans to launch 10 electric or hybrid electric cars in the country by 2020. This summer, it started selling a two-seat EV there, for just $5,300. Last year, it sold more cars in China (3.6 million) than it did in the US (3 million).

https://www.wired.com/story/general-motors-electric-cars-plan-gm/

 

Sean in Ottawa

jerrym wrote:

If Canada does not push to get a share of the zero emission vehicle production market, it will eventually find it has no automotive sector as that is where the world is going.

I remember writing here during the bid bailout back nearly ten years ago exactly that. The government had no business investing in these cars and the stupidity of doing so was obvious then.

I was not against a bailout. It should have been under the condition that the cars produced would be the greenest cars. If the big three did not like that then the government should have let them go under and made a deal with an automaker that would build such tires.

This was essential for the environment. It was also essential to not lose the investment.

Instead, the government made the unimaginative, damaging environmentally, and bad economic investment it did.

The government should not try to bargain to produce cars that are obsolete but invest in something of long-term value.

There is nothing here that we did not know a decade ago.

voice of the damned

quizzical wrote:

Mobo2000 wrote:

Oshawa is represented by NDP MPP Jennifer French.

Joblessness hurts regardless of who you voted for.   GM is a shitty employer, but they employed a lot of people, and this is nothing to cheer about.

 

where was eastern Canada's anguish in respect to 100's of thousands of forestry workers when their jobs were taken away,  and this is only 2500 jobs.

im more pissed about the GM bailouts. yes it's too bad these people will lose their jobs but they give a rat's ass about 100's of thousands lost in other provinces. like currently AB. prior BC.

crickets chirping at best. or outright derision at worst.

nope nope nope no solidarity with them at all.

I wouldn't neccessarily assume that all the workers being laid off were unsympathetic to unemployment elsewhere.

Certainly, anyone who does consider the GM layoffs to be a major crisis deserving immediate government remedy, while previously having shrugged off economic misery elsewhere as just the way it goes, is now getting a much-deserved lesson in what it's like to have his own ox gored.  

quizzical

over 100 thousand forestry jobs lost in BC in the last 15 years and no federal bailout for them. 

close to 3000 at the GM plant gets weeping and wailing on the national news.

no more federal bailouts for anyone imv. 

voice of the damned

quizzical wrote:

over 100 thousand forestry jobs lost in BC in the last 15 years and no federal bailout for them. 

close to 3000 at the GM plant gets weeping and wailing on the national news.

no more federal bailouts for anyone imv. 

Well, if the woodcutters in BC didn't get a bailout, that's the fault of the federal government. It doesn't neccessarily mean that the autoworkers in Ontario were uniformly unsympathetic to the woodcutters.  

Sean in Ottawa

quizzical wrote:

over 100 thousand forestry jobs lost in BC in the last 15 years and no federal bailout for them. 

close to 3000 at the GM plant gets weeping and wailing on the national news.

no more federal bailouts for anyone imv. 

I think if we believe in most of the principles of the left -- an investment is not a bailout. The reason many here are against a potential bailout of the big three and the last bailout is that these were bad investment. When it comes to the forestry workers, the same applies.

I think this is not an issue of people caring about one or another but how the news and response to news works. TRagically for the planet it is the same situation.

Something that is not new and hugely significant on the day does not get the same response even if it is more serious. Everyday the loss of the environment causes severe damage and deaths but is not newsworthy as nothing changed from yesterday. The same is true of the forestry workers -- this was not an instant loss. However a quick google search indicates that when news broke the entire country was concerned.

It is also wrong to say that Ontario and Ontario labour does not care. First, Ontario Labour has 85,000 workers in Northern Ontario. It is worth $19 B. The OFL did speak about it and so have others.

I think part of the problem with this relates to what is considered news: the feelings in Western Canada are related to real grievances. However, they are also fed by misunderstanding. Just as the Forestry job loss only makes the news when soemthing happens different on a news day, the concern of people in Eastern Canada is not newsworthy. The reactions of labour in solidarity is not newsworthy.

There are real issues with how news is percieved and delivered: but this is not about one part of the country being more indifferent than another. Of course when there is job loss in central Canada, it also makes the news that people in BC and Alberta are happy. I cannot determine if this is true, but I do not think the poeple in central Canada or more evil or the people in one part of Canada are more nice and caring than another. Feeding the resentment will not make the issues go away.

One reason why autoplants get more attention is also that there can be a single announcement of thousands of workers losing their jobs in a single day -- there are "good" pics, video and copy.

There is also a federal government weighted towards central Canada, so I am not saying you are completely wrong, but it is not the only factor. The weight is due to population. It is true that BC and Alberta have slightly fewer seats than average for their population. The imbalance is even greater for Ontario and Quebec. Ontario and Quebec are outsized in political weight due to extremely heavy population. The bigger the population the larger the population per seat. The idea is that smaller provinces get additional representation to offset the fact that they are smaller. To not do this would have Quebec and Ontario even more dominant than they already are. They have 58% of the seats in Parliament - rep by pop would give them nearly 62.

And it is not true that people here do not care. I am not sure that there are that many sympathetic to any union member anywhere in the country: this is a political reality.

One solution that has been proposed is to divide provinces to create greater balance -- Most provinces would seriously reject this -- not just Quebec. This is becuase they know that their overall size means clout. Like a union is strong -- so is a big province. This is a structural problem with Canada. It also does not have a solution as the federal government cannot make changes against the will of provinces (legally they are much more equal with differing jurisdicitons than people presume, unlike cities which are mostly owned by the province. Provincial power is only limited to a small degree by local citizen's rights as we saw in Toronto with Ford.

While I am constantly slammed by people from the West as being from central Canada, it is also true that I have called out for investment in Alberta here for many years in the context of energy policy so that any limitation due to a national desire for a better environment is not paid by one part of the country alone...

I usually support Western arguments, the exception being the sweeping attacks that bubble up here to all people who live in central Canada. Not every single person in the East is responsible for the West being screwed and the attacks against individuals on this site is counter productive to making a difference on the issues. Yes, Western Canada is treated often unfairly and that should change. However, the attacks on EVERYONE in the East compromise the support  in the east for that position. People who live in central Canada are one of the few allowed prejudices on this site.

quizzical

Sean their busy shipping raw logs out of the country to be processed. so it's  not like there's been a decrease in forestry to protect the environment or a vollpse in timber markets.

the companies just make more money by selling raw logs. this was allowed happen because forestry workers had no across country support. bad forestry workers destroying the environment and all. 

and be on the only acceptable intolerance allowed here is towards central Canada. 

AB people are disparaged all the time.

nope nope nope ON  playing victim doesn't  meet the smell test.

 

Sean in Ottawa

quizzical wrote:

Sean their busy shipping raw logs out of the country to be processed. so it's  not like there's been a decrease in forestry to protect the environment or a vollpse in timber markets.

the companies just make more money by selling raw logs. this was allowed happen because forestry workers had no across country support. bad forestry workers destroying the environment and all. 

and be on the only acceptable intolerance allowed here is towards central Canada. 

AB people are disparaged all the time.

nope nope nope ON  playing victim doesn't  meet the smell test.

I get the raw log issue -- I am agaisnt it and I think most here are as well

Please give me an example of where people form Alberta are disparaged as opposed to positions they take. When it comes to Central Canada, as my geography is in my handle, I know that I get attacks here just based on that and nothing to do with a position.

I am aware that many do not understand the positions and situation of Alberta or BC, but they are not attacked based on being from those places. If you think I am wrong then pony up an example.

Every argument with a person is not about the place they are from unless that is brought up as an issue. Where has it been brought up that someone is attacking you for being from Alberta?

quizzical

it's nonstop in all the environmental and pipeline threads. 

i dont mean attacking me personally, as i'm from and live in BC though only 45 mins from AB and spend a lot of time there, but AB generally and Albertans.

western alienation and exploitation is a fact and i find it rich you are playing the victim as an Ontarian.

why don't you "pony up" an example of attacks on you for being from Ontario or against Ontarians?

NDPP

Why Didn't Trudeau's NAFTA Renegotiation Prevent This?

https://twitter.com/dennisfurlan/status/1067079330742833152

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Sorry Sean I think you and others don't quite make all the connections. When we went down the free trade path the auto industry that was already covered by US Canada Auto Pact was largely not affected. The BC forest industry however was specifically left out of the deal. For those of us on the edges of the continent it fells a lot like our forest industry got traded off to protect Ontario's auto industry. Every five years the US has hammered our forest industry and there was little outcry in any of the "national" media, unlike every twist and turn of the auto industry.

We once had good paying union jobs in paper mills and sawmills now US hedge funds, who own most of Vancouver Islands timber rights, use  feller bunchers as they harvest trees too soon in  the sustainability cycle. Now around the Salish Sea instead of sustainable forestry we have moved to eco-tourism as our economic driver. But shit wouldn't you know it, the national interest means we have to have tar sands toxic waste shipped through the very areas we now want to use as our eco-economic base.  From the left coast it is hard to fathom why the 3,000 workers at a plant in Oshawa are far more important than the tens of thousands of jobs that we lost in forestry and the tens of thousands of tourism jobs that are being put at risk.

jerrym

Having lived in Ontario until 26 and since then in BC for the last 44 years, I have sympathy for those in both provinces affected by the enormous economic changes that these provinces, as well as the rest of the country, are going through. At times I feel the definition of being Canadian can be summed up in one word: regionalism.

The forest industry has been hammered across the country, but especially in BC where it dominated the economy just a short time ago. In the decade leading up to 2014 forestry employment fell by 118,000 across Canada and more jobs have been lost since then. Between 2000 and 2013 forestry fell from 3% of Canada's GDP to 1%. BC was particularly hard hit, losing 72% of forestry support workers, 55% of pulp and paper workers and 39% of wood product workers (https://www.woodbusiness.ca/industry-news/news/understanding-forest-indu...). In 2000 forestry was the single largest contributor to Canada's trade surplus, but has since been surpassed by the auto and fossil fuel sectors. (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/paper-trail-t...)

We need to shift to regionally oriented forestry with co-management by First Nations and local communities focusing on maintaining a healthy environment and long-term sustainability based on science, a living wage, and local management, planning and stewardship while moving away from a commidity-focused industry. Sweden learned this the hard way when a ravenous private sector destroyed much of its forests by 1900, leading to reforms that took decades to bring forestry back to full health. (https://www.skogsstyrelsen.se/globalassets/in-english/forests-and-forest...)

GM's closure of the Oshawa automotive plant and the loss of 3,000 jobs is just the tip of the iceberg of the greatest shift in the automotive sector since the shift in dominance of the steam engine to the gasoline powered internal combustion engine in the 1900 to 1910 decade. The governments of China, India, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway all plan to ban gasoline and diesel engines in the coming decades. Last year GM sold more cars in China than in the USA and it started selling $5,300 EV cars in China this year with plans to have 10 models there by 2020 and 18 models globally by 2023. (https://www.wired.com/story/general-motors-electric-cars-plan-gm/)

This presents a danger to both Canada's automotive industry centered in Ontario and the fossil fuel industry centered in Alberta. In 2016, vehicles were Canada's #1 export at $64.6 billion, accounted for good paying 130,000 jobs, were 16.8% of manufacturing sales nationally and 20.2% of Ontario's GDP (https://www.cvma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Website-WP-Important-Fact...

Since transportation produces 24% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada a shift from gasoline and diesel to zero emissions vehicles globally also means a dramatic reduction in the need for fossil fuels. 

The federal Liberal government says it is willing to look at some funding if  GM proposes some investment. This is not good enough as the danger is that the rapid global shift to zero emission vehicles in the next five years  by GM and it competitors is likely to leave Canada sitting on the sideline if it does not use a combination of pressure and incentives to get this shift occurring in Canada. Passively waiting for something to happen is likely to see the automotive sector in Canada disappear. For example, several auto parts suppliers for the Oshawa plant have already said the day it closes is the day they close. As the automotive infrastructive continues to disappear, there is less and less incentive for companies to invest what remains of the industry. 

Canadian governments have to also start assisting in shifting away from fossil fuel producers and pipelines, which require enormous investments but relatively few jobs anyway, towards renewable energy, as fossil fuel dependent industries, like automotive, also shift away. Linda McQuaig was right that Alberta's oilsands may need to remain undeveloped in order for Canada to meet its climate change targets. Now it is also clear that we cannot take out the last drop of oil in the oilsands for economic reasons, as well as environmental reasons.  

In other words, our #1 export industry (auto) #2 (fossil fuels) and #3 (forestry) all are facing major problems that our federal government is doing little to address. 

WWWTT

 

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Sorry Sean I think you and others don't quite make all the connections. When we went down the free trade path the auto industry that was already covered by US Canada Auto Pact was largely not affected. The BC forest industry however was specifically left out of the deal. For those of us on the edges of the continent it fells a lot like our forest industry got traded off to protect Ontario's auto industry. Every five years the US has hammered our forest industry and there was little outcry in any of the "national" media, unlike every twist and turn of the auto industry.

We once had good paying union jobs in paper mills and sawmills now US hedge funds, who own most of Vancouver Islands timber rights, use  feller bunchers as they harvest trees too soon in  the sustainability cycle. Now around the Salish Sea instead of sustainable forestry we have moved to eco-tourism as our economic driver. But shit wouldn't you know it, the national interest means we have to have tar sands toxic waste shipped through the very areas we now want to use as our eco-economic base.  From the left coast it is hard to fathom why the 3,000 workers at a plant in Oshawa are far more important than the tens of thousands of jobs that we lost in forestry and the tens of thousands of tourism jobs that are being put at risk.

Fair enough brother, I take your word on it!

Should point out that Quebec is actually the largest producer and Ontario is third. 

I believe it’s more to do with a past belief by politicians worldwide. The belief that more money should be spent on developing hi technology sectors of the economy. This is a failed ideology. 

I believe there is importance in developing hi tech, but it’s way overdone, the technology being developed is out of step and there’s probably some shifty deals being made borderline corrupt 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WWWTT wrote:

Should point out that Quebec is actually the largest producer and Ontario is third.

That fact just highlights that BC got the shaft compared to other places. As late as 2013 it used to be that BC produced over 50% of Canada's lumber now you say it is number three?

The forest industry has been hammered across the country, but especially in BC where it dominated the economy just a short time ago. In the decade leading up to 2014 forestry employment fell by 118,000 across Canada and more jobs have been lost since then. Between 2000 and 2013 forestry fell from 3% of Canada's GDP to 1%. BC was particularly hard hit, losing 72% of forestry support workers, 55% of pulp and paper workers and 39% of wood product workers (https://www.woodbusiness.ca/industry-news/news/understanding-forest-indu...)

https://www.bccpa.ca/CpaBc/media/CPABC/News_Events_Publications/Publicat...

quizzical

ya they don't give a shit about BC kropotkin it's all about ON and QC.

time to separate imv i'm so sick of the "don't have a fkn clue"  crowd in the east thinking they've got the right. am so fine cant even be nice in response. 

WWWTT

@kropotkin

No I’m under the impression that Quebec is #1 in Canada, BC #2 and Ontario is third. Quebec has the largest land mass and most forests so by default it would have the most trees readily available to harvest. Also, in Ontario and Quebec, there’s much more hardwood such as Oak Maples birch popular walnut etc etc. So you just can’t just look at softwood numbers.  

But getting back to cars and GM. These factories and manufacturing with Bombardier are centred around Ontario an Quebec. So I believe that’s where the animosity originated. Also between Eastern Canada and Ontario Quebec. 

I’m not convinced that the Ontario Quebec  agricultural forestry and fishing sectors are given preferential treatments above other Canadian provinces 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

jerrym wrote:

Having lived in Ontario until 26 and since then in BC for the last 44 years, I have sympathy for those in both provinces affected by the enormous economic changes that these provinces, as well as the rest of the country, are going through. At times I feel the definition of being Canadian can be summed up in one word: regionalism.

The forest industry has been hammered across the country, but especially in BC where it dominated the economy just a short time ago. In the decade leading up to 2014 forestry employment fell by 118,000 across Canada and more jobs have been lost since then. Between 2000 and 2013 forestry fell from 3% of Canada's GDP to 1%. BC was particularly hard hit, losing 72% of forestry support workers, 55% of pulp and paper workers and 39% of wood product workers (https://www.woodbusiness.ca/industry-news/news/understanding-forest-indu...). In 2000 forestry was the single largest contributor to Canada's trade surplus, but has since been surpassed by the auto and fossil fuel sectors. (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/paper-trail-t...)

We need to shift to regionally oriented forestry with co-management by First Nations and local communities focusing on maintaining a healthy environment and long-term sustainability based on science, a living wage, and local management, planning and stewardship while moving away from a commidity-focused industry. Sweden learned this the hard way when a ravenous private sector destroyed much of its forests by 1900, leading to reforms that took decades to bring forestry back to full health. (https://www.skogsstyrelsen.se/globalassets/in-english/forests-and-forest...)

GM's closure of the Oshawa automotive plant and the loss of 3,000 jobs is just the tip of the iceberg of the greatest shift in the automotive sector since the shift in dominance of the steam engine to the gasoline powered internal combustion engine in the 1900 to 1910 decade. The governments of China, India, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway all plan to ban gasoline and diesel engines in the coming decades. Last year GM sold more cars in China than in the USA and it started selling $5,300 EV cars in China this year with plans to have 10 models there by 2020 and 18 models globally by 2023. (https://www.wired.com/story/general-motors-electric-cars-plan-gm/)

This presents a danger to both Canada's automotive industry centered in Ontario and the fossil fuel industry centered in Alberta. In 2016, vehicles were Canada's #1 export at $64.6 billion, accounted for good paying 130,000 jobs, were 16.8% of manufacturing sales nationally and 20.2% of Ontario's GDP (https://www.cvma.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Website-WP-Important-Fact...

Since transportation produces 24% of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada a shift from gasoline and diesel to zero emissions vehicles globally also means a dramatic reduction in the need for fossil fuels. 

The federal Liberal government says it is willing to look at some funding if  GM proposes some investment. This is not good enough as the danger is that the rapid global shift to zero emission vehicles in the next five years  by GM and it competitors is likely to leave Canada sitting on the sideline if it does not use a combination of pressure and incentives to get this shift occurring in Canada. Passively waiting for something to happen is likely to see the automotive sector in Canada disappear. For example, several auto parts suppliers for the Oshawa plant have already said the day it closes is the day they close. As the automotive infrastructive continues to disappear, there is less and less incentive for companies to invest what remains of the industry. 

Canadian governments have to also start assisting in shifting away from fossil fuel producers and pipelines, which require enormous investments but relatively few jobs anyway, towards renewable energy, as fossil fuel dependent industries, like automotive, also shift away. Linda McQuaig was right that Alberta's oilsands may need to remain undeveloped in order for Canada to meet its climate change targets. Now it is also clear that we cannot take out the last drop of oil in the oilsands for economic reasons, as well as environmental reasons.  

In other words, our #1 export industry (auto) #2 (fossil fuels) and #3 (forestry) all are facing major problems that our federal government is doing little to address. 

..excellent post jerrym

quizzical

ya i thought so too epaulo. the facts are contained in the first part and the unrealistic dream in the last few.

whose going to buy these zero emission cars?

the 4%ers are hardly going to make a market worthwhile. even if you include the professional class they'll only be buying one each and trading every few years. and what about those batteries eh.

no one will be working well paying blue collar jobs as  Jerry showed.

for everyone else hard to afford a 0 emissions vehicle on min wage,

pay outrageous rent, mortgage and utilities. mass transit then as now in cities.

don't get me wrong imv we need zero emission vehicles but it ain't happening in 5 years. 

a whole new society needs designing or the outfall will be terrible. 

 

NDPP

It won't be. And it will be.

NDPP

In Wake of GM Cuts, Trump Fires Back: Don't Move Production To China Or Else

https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/11/27/new-north-american-trade-de...

"The US saved GM, and this is the THANKS we get!' 'We are now looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including for electric cars...' Canada has been more conciliatory."

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

WWWTT wrote:

No I’m under the impression that Quebec is #1 in Canada, BC #2 and Ontario is third. Quebec has the largest land mass and most forests so by default it would have the most trees readily available to harvest. Also, in Ontario and Quebec, there’s much more hardwood such as Oak Maples birch popular walnut etc etc. So you just can’t just look at softwood numbers.

The link I posted on page 4 says in 2013 BC's forest industry produced 52% of softwood lumber in Canada and was the single largest forest product producer in North America. Check out the charts on page 9 of the report. These numbers are dated because they only go to 2013. But since then you may be right that BC has slipped to number two.

Your geographic arguments I am sorry to say are not sound.

https://www.bccpa.ca/CpaBc/media/CPABC/News_Events_Publications/Publicat...

Aristotleded24

jerrym wrote:
I posted the following in the Canada and global warming: a state of denial thread also but I believe it has relevance here as well. 

The closing of GM's Oshawa auto plant is not just devastating for the workers who will be losing their jobs, it sends a signal about where the global automotive industry is going that has far wider implications for Canada. While a number of factors are involved in the closure, GM's shift to zero emission vehicles is a major one in a world that is shifting away from using fossil fuels in response to global warming. "General Motors is shuttering its plant in Oshawa as part of a restructuring of its global operations to focus on autonomous and zero-emission vehicles, sources say." (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-general-motors-to-shut-...)

If Canada does not push to get a share of the zero emission vehicle production market, it will eventually find it has no automotive sector as that is where the world is going. 

The global shift to zero emission vehicles also means in time there will be less need for oil production. This shift to green energy is occurring in other industries as well. So continuing to focus on expanding oil pipelines and production instead of using money to grow renewable green energy production is also going to put us out of synch with the rest of the world over time.

There are 2 problems here. The most obvious one being that this shift in modes of production is clearly being used as an excuse to shuffle production away from Canada and the US towards lower wage jurisdictions like China and Mexico. There's no reason that GM can't adapt these plants to produce more of the vehicles we need. It's also indicative of a long-term shift away from North America because businesses have essentially given up on being able to serve a middle class market here.

The second problem is that the scam that is the electric vehicle needs to be called out. It's essentially a way to convince people that we can essentially go on living our lives as we are without having to make any fundamental changes, such as designing our communities better or better public transit. So what if there are no carbon emissions for these new vehicles? You still have to build a great deal of road and parking lots to accomodate these things. What about all the natural vegetation that is removed? If you have all these vehicles, you still need asphalt parking lots for them. These parking lots contribute to the urban heat island, and also displace vegetation that can actually soak up and store carbon away from the atmosphere. It also introduces more practical problems. What about the process of mining the materials needed for these cars? Doesn't that involve heavy metals? What about all the extra electricity that is going to be needed to power all of these vehicles? How is that going to be generated? You really think we can generate that much more electricity without having a major impact on the environment? Finally, the average January low temperature in Winnipeg is roughly minus 24 degrees. How will the battery hold a charge in that weather? Sure we may burn a bit of extra gas to warm up our vehicles, but at least the gas in the tank isn't going to go down simply from the car not running in winter.

That's not to say that electric vehicles don't have a place, for example in a municipal fleet of emergency vehicles. But they are not a silver bullet that is going to solve all of our problems, and the switch from gasoline to electric will have practical issues that need to be addressed.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..for sure transition will take a while. best to do it while we still have options. i agree the electric car is not the answer but it does represent transition. but we do need a transition that comes from the bottom up and not the top down where corporations are still in charge. we need a holistic transition away from capitalism.  

WWWTT

In my view electric vehicles are the answer in many applications scenarios etc etc! You can't have people endlessly living on top of each other just to make public transportation to work!

When my family and I were in China, Nanning Guangxi province, my wife and I visited local real extate agents and we checked out condo prices because we are considering locating there.

My wife wants a place in the downtown core, but it's just way way too chaotic! The streets and sidewalks are packed with bikes and ebikes and you have to constantly look over your shoulder because there's constantly a cyclist driving up right behind you. We checked the outskirts of the city, not too far from subway line and it's actually very reasonable and more logical to raise a family of 3 children there. When the kids get older I can buy each of them an electric scooter, one for myself and one for my wife and an electric car for outings or when it rains bad weather etc etc.

I agree with the concensus here that transition will be painfull, but must happen

WWWTT

kropotkin1951 wrote:

WWWTT wrote:

No I’m under the impression that Quebec is #1 in Canada, BC #2 and Ontario is third. Quebec has the largest land mass and most forests so by default it would have the most trees readily available to harvest. Also, in Ontario and Quebec, there’s much more hardwood such as Oak Maples birch popular walnut etc etc. So you just can’t just look at softwood numbers.

The link I posted on page 4 says in 2013 BC's forest industry produced 52% of softwood lumber in Canada and was the single largest forest product producer in North America. Check out the charts on page 9 of the report. These numbers are dated because they only go to 2013. But since then you may be right that BC has slipped to number two.

Your geographic arguments I am sorry to say are not sound.

https://www.bccpa.ca/CpaBc/media/CPABC/News_Events_Publications/Publicat...

The very link you provided even says that the pine beetle infestation will reduce BC's forestry production. As well, trees takes decades if not centuries to grow, I'm sure some years, there may be greater harvests than others? But I believe that BC's climate gives it an advantage in consistant harvesting.

I'm just saying that BC isn't the only big forestry producer in Canada. Quebec and Ontario are up there to. I have talked with land owners near Peterborough Ontario who have sugar bushes (maple syrup) and there has been a huge shift in the economy in southern Ontario since I'm going to guess around a century ago from forestry agriculture fishing to industrial commercial services.

But forestry agriculture and fishing will always be there, and a big part of our economy, industry commercial etc etc is somewhat overated

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

GM Oshawa's bombshell closure fuels calls for green economy policies in Ontario

An abrupt announcement by General Motors that its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Oshawa, Ont. will be closed triggered fresh concern about the province's lack of clean economy policies and alarm about the impact of mass layoffs.

GM has been manufacturing cars in Oshawa for 100 years, but on Monday the Detroit-based automaker announced its plants in Oshawa and four American communities were being shut to facilitate a major restructuring that will double their investment in electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

The closure will affect over 2,500 hourly and salaried workers in the plant, more than a third of GM's workforce in Canada, as well as parts and other suppliers and an array of businesses that depend on their incomes. Thousands of GM Oshawa workers walked off the job to protest Monday the news of the plant's closure by the end of 2019.

quote:

Last year, the company announced several new electric vehicles would be added to its manufacturing roster. The car manufacturer said Monday it "now intends to prioritize future vehicle investments in its next-generation battery-electric architectures."

But, in its first five months in office, the Ford government has eliminated rebate programs for electric car buyers and scrapped all policies that would make Ontario an attractive place for such clean economy manufacturing initiatives, including the cancellation of 758 clean energy contracts, a cap and trade program to reduce carbon emissions and no plan to address climate change.

The Ford government has also taken a strong stand against the federal price on pollution, committing to a $30 million lawsuit to fight it.

Opposition members and critics were quick to link GM's decision to shut down its Oshawa operations.

"It sends a signal to job creators and investors that Ontario is not interested in embracing a clean economy," Green Party leader and MPP Mike Schreiner told reporters. "We need a premier who will put evidence above ideology and shelve his anti-environmental, anti-clean economy agenda and embrace where investment and job creation in the world is going."

"The government needs to be at the table when it comes to helping these kind of manufacturers retool their operations to build the cars of the future," NDP leader Andrea Horwath told reporters. "The reality is that around the world governments around the world partner with industry to make sure that their existing footprints are stable and that our investments are brought higher."

"Taking away these subsidies is having a huge impact already," Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said in a phone interview. "This is a dumb decision on (Ford's) part, and they did it without understanding the whole sector."

WWWTT

Good dig epaulo!

I mentioned Fords attack on going green in at least another thread I started. Hopefully this GM plant shutdown will wake up many Ontario voters come 2022!

Mighty Middle

Doug Ford - Jerry Dias Selling False Hope on General Motors closure

Union leaders and politicians who talk about saving a General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont., are selling “false hope,” Premier Doug Ford said Wednesday, as an opposition critic accused him of politicizing the closure in order to attack the federal carbon tax.

Ford held a news conference after an emergency cabinet meeting on the GM closure Wednesday afternoon. The premier accused Jerry Dias, the leader of the union representing the affected autoworkers, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other politicians of grandstanding when they pledged to fight the closure.

“When we hear any of these people talking all we hear are a bunch of powerful people grandstanding,” he said. “They’re busy picking fights and raising false hope. But in private they know the GM plant is not coming back.”

Ford said the fight ahead for the 2,500 autoworkers affected by the looming plant closure is to find new jobs, and he promised to help them with that.

He said he believes the firm had been contemplating the move for a long time, and speculated that had he been premier before the June election that perhaps he could have averted the closure.

“GM didn’t decide this in the six months (after) Doug Ford took over,” Ford said. “Matter of fact, if Doug Ford was here for five years they probably wouldn’t have left because I would have lowered their taxes, lowered their hydro rates … and made it attractive for companies to stay here.”

Ford used the news conference to call on Trudeau to scrap his plan to impose a carbon tax on the provinces as a way to help spur job creation in Ontario and across the country. He called on Trudeau, whom he will meet with at a first minister’s conference in Montreal next week, to abandon the carbon pricing plan.

“You can’t campaign for a job-killing carbon tax on Monday and sit around and wonder why manufacturing and automotive jobs are leaving on Tuesday.”

Ontario Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said Ford is erroneously linking the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa with putting a price on pollution.

“Politicizing the GM plant closure for an anti-climate crusade is irresponsible,” Schreiner said. “Instead of attacking the clean economy, I’m asking the premier to embrace this $26 trillion economic opportunity. I’m calling on the premier to work with stakeholders to develop an auto strategy for Ontario to lead the (electric vehicle) revolution, not lose jobs to jurisdictions who are embracing electric vehicles.”

Dias fired back at Ford on social media, taking issue with his claim that the focus should be on finding the impacted GM workers other employment.

“Find new jobs? Seriously – is this the best that @fordnation can do?” Dias said in a brief statement on Twitter.

Reached in Washington, D.C., by a Toronto TV station, Dias responded to Ford’s “false hope” comment by saying the premier is offering auto workers “no hope” and should be ashamed of himself.

NDP legislator Jennifer French, who represents Oshawa at Queen’s Park, said families in the community have a year to fight GM’s decision — and they plan to do so.

“I would never give anyone false hope but I would never give up hope,” she said. “There’s a big difference. We are facing an uncertain and rocky road ahead of us. But there is always something to fight for. The premier underestimates Oshawa.”

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will continue to fight for the workers in Oshawa. He also defended the federal government’s carbon pricing plan as a job creator.

“The best way to secure jobs for the future is to take genuine action on climate change and help our economy and our families to thrive through the transition to a lower carbon economy,” he said during question period. “The members opposite have no plan and instead just try to play politics.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/4709606/doug-ford-general-motors-oshawa/

NDPP

How the New North American Trade Deal Could Help Boost Canada's Auto Industry

https://business.financialpost.com/transportation/autos/how-the-new-nort...

Apparently not. The USMCA is an unmitigated disaster and the chickens are only beginning to come home to roost. Same with CETA and the rest. Again progressives dropped the ball on this and largely drank the 'free trade' purple kool aid.

NDPP

'Corporate Greed At Its Worst': After Reaping $514 M From GOP Tax Scam and Billions in Public Subsidies, GM To Fire Nearly 15,000 Workers

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/26/corporate-greed-its-worst-a...

"For those wondering: in the past decade, the Canadian government gave GM about $14 billion and the US government gave them about $50 billion. The company earned $6 billion in the first three quarters of 2018..."

Canada - you've been SCREWED!

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

GM’s Layoffs Made Possible by Weak Unions, Automatization, and Bad Priorities

Prof. Leo Panitch and former auto worker Frank Hammer discuss how the GM’s 14,000 layoffs in Canada and the US are made possible by the weakening of unions, outsourcing, and misdirected production priorities

quote:

LEO PANITCH: On the other hand, you’ve had one response echoed in letters to the editor coming from a business journalist in the Toronto Star calling for the nationalization of the whole of General Motors in Canada. Not just this plant that has been so productive, and has the best paint shop in the world, being closed, but the whole of General Motors should be nationalized, and we should use those facilities to produce the most advanced technology, either automobiles or public transit vehicles, that we could on that basis. Now, that’s thinking outside of the box, but it’s the kind of thinking that’s needed in the face of this type of corporate hubris, which obviously has been announced now, only now–it’s been planned for a very long time–in the wake of the American midterm election.

quote:

FRANK HAMMER: So it’s been that, partially. And the other part, of course, is automation and robotization, so that if you walk into my plant today, you know, you hardly see a human soul. You hardly see a worker, because it’s all machines. So it just seems to me that General Motors is going more and more to a workerless factory, which is their ultimate aspiration, as well as going to driverless cars. That’s what’s gone down, and that’s–we’ve lost product at my plant. We only make transmissions now. And there’s no future work in sight.

But I think this announcement is also very clearly being used to exercise leverage on the negotiations that are scheduled for next fall. And Mary Barra and her conference made it very clear that that’s one of their aspirations. And UAW, the GM department director put out a letter two weeks ago in advance of Monday’s announcement saying that we’ll all be lucky if we have a job, and that job and product security will be the number one demand in the next round of negotiations. So this is already setting up the framework for what to expect in 2019.

So to your second questio, the UAW at its convention in June acknowledged, I think maybe for the first time, that we are in the throes of climate change, and that this is a serious problem. It’s, you know, we should really use the terminology climate catastrophe. And if it takes its words seriously, it should be responding by saying if there are any facility that are to be closed, we should reopen the dialogue and talk about how can the plant not be closed, but reconverted, repurposed, to produce, whether it be transit components, whether it be renewable energy components. But these facilities can be put to use. And our workforce, which is highly trained, can be put to making products that we need so that we can reduce carbon emissions and, you know, try to secure. A safe planet for ourselves and our future generations.

quote:

LEO PANITCH: Well, look, the great irony of this is that the biggest sellers for GM at the moment are these giant pickup trucks. You know, in today’s Toronto Star, just plastered with articles and devastating photographs of the workers who are going to be laid off, there is a full-page section, an ad that obviously was placed a long, long time ago before it was run, called Best New Vehicles 2019. And second at the very top are the Silverado and Sierra, the large pickups that GM produces, which the Oshawa plant is assembling.

So you know, GM is in the situation of talking about something that’s not going to happen for two decades at best in terms of driverless cars, or completely electric cars, while it’s making its profits on these gas-guzzling pickups. That’s what it’s making its profits on. That’s what it’s primarily going to continue producing. And the, I think Frank’s absolutely right, that this particular announcement has everything to do with the forthcoming negotiations and putting the scare into those workers who are there.

At the same time, there is tremendous research and development capacity, with brilliant engineers, brilliant skilled workers, brilliant technicians who even are here in Canada. There are two R&D centers in Canada. And just last year the City of Toronto approved GM opening a site right on Lakeshore Boulevard where they were going to showcase their technological expertise. You know, it is about time that the union itself started calling for democracy in the automobile sector. And we desperately need it, because so many parts companies–there are three Canadian international very competitive parts companies–one of them already announced the closure of two plants by virtue of this announcement in Oshawa.

It’s about time that it was said loud and clear that we are going to democratize this crucial sector of the economy. We’re no longer to be handing over billions of dollars with absolutely no guarantee with regard to economic planning of both technology and late [inaudible] in our society. That’s the conclusion that the left needs to draw from this, and indeed, get some ambition as a result of this kind of devastating [inaudible].

NDPP

Oshawa Plant Closing Just Another Symptom of Bad Free Trade Agreements, Says Council of Canadians

https://canadians.org/media/oshawa-plant-closing-just-another-symptom-ba...

"It is successive free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, which have contributed to the decline of autoworker jobs in Canada, says the Council. Our other agreements with Europe and Pacific countries will just put more salt in the wound..."

Aristotleded24

WWWTT wrote:
My wife wants a place in the downtown core, but it's just way way too chaotic! The streets and sidewalks are packed with bikes and ebikes and you have to constantly look over your shoulder because there's constantly a cyclist driving up right behind you. We checked the outskirts of the city, not too far from subway line and it's actually very reasonable and more logical to raise a family of 3 children there. When the kids get older I can buy each of them an electric scooter, one for myself and one for my wife and an electric car for outings or when it rains bad weather etc etc.

I absolutely agree. Urban planning is a key issue. Most of us live in areas were owning a car is a necessity because nobody is going to walk an hour one way to the local grocery store to do shopping. There's a direct relationship between a person's physical and mental health and how easily this person can get everything (s)he needs within walking distance of where (s)he lives. Even the simple act of walking to school! How many children can do that these days? The irony is that as walkable communities are naturally more desirable, it tends to price out the very people who, for financial reasons, would benefit the most from not having to pay for a car. I'm lucky enough to live in central Winnipeg, where most of what I need I can get by walking, and most other places I need to get to are just one bus route away. I go to great lengths to avoid driving, but even I have a limit where I'll say, "this is ridiculous, I'll use my car to save time."

I'll also say that I wish I had to constantly watch out for cyclists coming up from behind me. That would imply that the streets and community are alive.

Aristotleded24
NDPP

The Jimmy Dore Show

https://youtu.be/sQsLOkEW5Cg

"GM closing 5 plants - Trump has no answers."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Oshawa workers stage another sit-down protest at GM assembly plant halting production

Unionized workers are holding another sit-down hours after the afternoon shift halted production Tuesday night.

It comes after Jerry Dias was told by GM Tuesday they wouldn’t be able to accept any of Unifor’s proposals to keep the plant in Oshawa open.

GM says the union should instead work with them and help the nearly 3,000 people affected.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Why we occupied our General Motors factory in Oshawa

All told, about 6,700 hourly and salaried employees stand to lose their jobs as the lines stop at Oshawa Assembly in Ontario, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly in Michigan, and Lordstown Assembly in Ohio. Meanwhile the company is posting billions in profits.

Neither the United Auto Workers nor Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, which represents auto workers in Oshawa, has called for job actions, leaving many union activists feeling frustrated and dispirited.

Nonetheless, workers in GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant took the initiative themselves to shut down production in a sit-down strike this week. Auto workers in Detroit will be protesting GM at the January 18 North American International Auto Show.

Tony Leah is a longtime union activist who has put in 38 years at the Oshawa plant. He chairs the Political Action Committee of Unifor Local 222 and coordinates the union education program in the plant, organizing trainings with members every week on shop floor topics like how to stop harassment and big-picture issues like trade deals.

Labor Notes’ Chris Brooks spoke with Leah on January 10 about the sit-down and why it’s essential that workers use their power on the job—not just a public relations campaign—to bring GM to the negotiating table.

Labor Notes: When did you hear about the company’s decision to end production in Oshawa, and what was the response from your co-workers?

Tony Leah: On Sunday, November 25, in the evening, is when word got out. I believe that the union had received some notification from GM that afternoon, so that started circulating pretty widely.

Monday morning, people were angry. We had been told there would be an announcement from GM, but everyone knew by then that they were planning to close the plant by the end of 2019.

Management told workers we would be gathered together for meetings by 10 a.m. for the announcement, but we all walked out of the plant before that.

The plant was shut down and that evening we had a meeting with the union leadership about what they had heard from GM and what our response was going to be.

What has been Unifor’s response?

There has been a woeful lack of involvement of members in determining strategy and direction. The leadership has not asked members to discuss ideas. It is asking people to show up for small rallies around town waving banners, putting up lawn signs, and so on.

The local union leadership has gone so far as to actively discourage involvement or questions by sabotaging union meetings—for example, directing union reps not to show up, and having them direct members to a banner event instead of the local membership meeting on January 4, resulting in there being no quorum and having the meeting cancelled.

From the national union, while [Unifor President] Jerry Dias has used militant rhetoric, the actual campaign has mainly relied on a public relations company. The campaign is designed to run ads on radio, television, and social media.

They are saying GM is harming workers in the community, which is true—and public support is important. But it’s not sufficient to change GM’s decision. A battle like this requires far more than public sympathy. We have to have a direct impact on their bottom lines and impact their profits. Unfortunately, that has not been a central part of the union’s strategy.

In my opinion, the greatest weaknesses so far are, one, not seeing workers’ ability to stop production as key, and two, ignoring the need for solidarity from the rest of the labor movement in Canada, and solidarity with auto workers in the U.S. and other countries.

Jerry Dias pulled Unifor out of the Canadian Labour Congress a year ago to allow him to pursue raids against other affiliates, which has had a big negative impact on our ability to build a broader fightback. The membership of Local 222 opposed the disaffiliation.

The union is run in a top-down way, so they come up with the strategy and just expect everyone else to implement it. There is no forum for us to discuss how to push our advantage on the production line. The positive actions have been mostly driven by spontaneous actions of the workers.

How were the sit-down actions organized? These were worker-led actions, not initiated by the national union, right?

Everything boiled over this week because we were told that Unifor was meeting with GM in Detroit to discuss keeping Oshawa open. We were told there would be a response from GM that would be announced at a press conference on Tuesday, January 8.

At the time that the press conference was on, around 4:20 p.m. that day, most people were gathered somewhere in the plant to watch it. The announcement was that GM was still going to end production in Oshawa.

So the truck-production shift, which works afternoons, sat down. The whole plant went down as a result, so about 700 people stopped work. People gathered together. Management tried to get people to go back to work. When that failed, management told everyone to leave, and then that failed.

The union had to respond, but the plant leadership was in Windsor at the time and it took them five hours to get to the plant. Eventually the plant chair arrived and gave his speech and led everyone out of the plant. They got no production from that shift.

The action happened because people had built up hope in the union’s meetings with the company and nothing came out of it.

The next day there were sporadic actions, but no overall shutdown or occupation. Lots of people were angry and stopping work and shutting things down in truck and car production. That anger is still there, and the desire to resist is still there.

The national leadership has called for a January 11 rally in Windsor to protest the closing. That’s a head scratcher. We feel like the battle is here.

Can you give me an example of the union’s failed PR strategy?

The best example is the “Tree of Hope.” The union called a press conference in mid-December and said we are going to launch our public campaign against the GM plant closing.

The press conference was in Memorial Park, where the union unveiled this big 20- to 30-foot Christmas tree. They had places where people could leave messages on a banner to show community support. They had Christmas ornaments that say “Save GM Oshawa” that people could order and put on their own trees and then share out on social media.

When you have a campaign designed by a P.R. firm, you get this kind of media stuff and not anything that actually impacts profit generation at the point of production. You don’t get strikes, you get a “Tree of Hope.”

Our members are showing they want to be more aggressive dealing with GM. We showed that on the first day, when we walked out and shut down three shifts. The union told us to go back and show GM what a good job we can do producing for them.

Oftentimes union members don’t want to be too critical of the union, especially when we are under attack. But it is imperative that we question this strategy and push for militant actions.....