GM, Unifor announce investment in Oshawa plant that will save 300 jobs


Officials from General Motors and Unifor have announced plans to transform its Oshawa operations into a new stamping and light assembly plant.

President and Managing Director, Travis Hester says 55-acres at the Oshawa plant will also be converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles.

The announcement was made this morning in Toronto alongside Unifor national president Jerry Dias. "The answer is no", said Dias.

This comes after the automaker originally announced its intentions to close three assembly plants and two propulsion plants in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Ontario by the end of 2019.

"So what GM is doing here today is they are making a long-term commitment to Oshawa cause with every vehicle that we start to perform the aftermarket work, it's a 10-year commitment", Dias said. "There'll be more the year after as we continue to attract work". "There'll be more next year".

Unifor also got GM to offer enhanced retirement packages to eligible Oshawa employees, including vouchers toward the purchase of new GM vehicles, and a "Jobs Action Centre" that will open in June to help other employees plan for future career opportunities outside GM following the end of Oshawa vehicle production. "Putting a test track in gives those jobs more security ... but also potentially a real possibility of more jobs on the intellectual side of the industry".

Ontario's Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Todd Smith, welcomed the news.

"Just yesterday, Oshawa's autoworkers were facing a completely uncertain future", he said in a statement. The centre will receive support from GM, Unifor and the Government of Ontario, and will match employee skills with requirements from new employers.

"We are glad this historic site will continue to be a hub for vehicle parts manufacturing, technological innovation and regional economic growth", Smith said.

A spokesman for GM declined to comment before an 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) press conference at which the company and the union are expected to make an announcement about the plant.