General Motors to close Ontario plant by 2013

Closure could lead to 2,000 layoffs: Union
||Last Updated: 06/01/2012

General Motors will be closing one of its Oshawa, Ont., plants by June 2013, the auto manufacturer confirmed on June 1. The closure could lead to about 2,000 layoffs.

The company will gradually eliminate the three shifts on the consolidated line over the next year, it said.

"It is too early to predict accurately the job impacts related to these scheduling actions which will unfold over the next year as some employees may elect to retire and others will be on indefinite layoff," GM Canada communications manager Adria MacKenzie said in a statement.

GM wouldn't commit to giving the plant new product, so the closure isn’t a complete surprise, according to Chris Buckley, president of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, Local 222 — the union representing the workers at the Oshawa plant.

"What we find offensive is Canadian auto workers helped save this company," Buckley told The Detroit News. "During the auto crisis, our workers both active and retired, were forced to make significant sacrifices in order for the Canadian government to loan the funds (for the company) to survive."

The line being closed currently builds the Chevrolet Impala and overflow of the Equinox. GM plans to close the line by June 2013 when production of the Impala is scheduled to end.

The Oshawa plant employs 4,000 workers in total, Buckley said.

A GM truck plant in Oshawa has already been closed, along with a transmission factory in Windsor, Ont.

Buckley says he's "extremely nervous of GM's future plans here in Canada."

GM currently employs more than 10,000 people across Canada.

The Oshawa plant was originally planned to shut in 2008 as part of GM's 2005 business plan. The plant remained open, however, after it went into chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.

Negotiations between the CAW and GM are set to begin this summer on a new three-year contract. The automaker’s current contract with the union expires in September 2012.

CAW Local 222 will hold a press conference sometime this morning to discuss the closure.

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