GM workers have uncertain road ahead after plant closures, layoffs announced


When the truck plant closure was announced, a convoy of some 250 cars surrounded GM's Oshawa operations, temporarily halting production. It will have to navigate political headwinds and not overplay its hand during upcoming union negotiations.

GM CEO Mary Barra said the company is no longer focusing on the sedans and trucks manufactured in Oshawa.

Union leaders are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon.

"The ones that are sole-sourced to the plant, you know, who've been living off GM rather than getting out and hustling other business, they're vulnerable".

Unifor Local 222 shop chairman Greg Moffat said Monday the plant is not closing "without the fight of our lives".

The competition means that even productive plants like Oshawa can't necessarily compete as companies streamline operations and vehicles lines, said Greig Mordue, McMaster University's Arcelor Mittal Dofasco chair in advanced manufacturing.

However, such future-minded and proactive thinking is a high-risk, potentially high-reward bet.

The automaker said it would shift resources to investing in electric and autonomous vehicles. But the operations remain unprofitable.

For the union representing the autoworkers it was a slap in the face.

"If they're not making vehicles there then obviously they don't need our assemblies", he said in an interview Wednesday.

Langley said the announced elimination of the passenger cars wasn't surprising, but the immediacy of canceling the cars "so quickly is a new phenomenon".

More news: Microsoft briefly tops Apple as most valuable company

The Canadian and Ontario governments joined the United States in supporting GM with billions of dollars in aid after the automaker filed for bankruptcy protection during the severe 2009 global economic downturn. "So they are not single-customer (parts) plants", he told Yahoo Finance Canada. GM, she said, was acting completely disorganized and the communication all round had been poor.

However, there are some legitimate concerns about what kind of ripple effect the Oshawa closure will have on the industry.

"What do we have to do?'" said Ford, referring to a Sunday night call with GM Canada's President Travis Hester.

"GM is leaving Canada". He said he and neighbouring Oshawa MP Colin Carrie were "reaching out for information". "They know they're making a great product. but they also realize that the auto is not selling, and, you know, the key is to get another product for this plant".

GM announced Monday that it would idle three factories in North America. That has not occurred; however, it is expected.

GM also said it will reduce salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 per cent, which includes 25 per cent fewer executives.

But doing so also leaves automakers vulnerable to shifts in consumer preference back to passenger cars. "We think it is appropriate to do it at this time while the company is strong and the economy is strong".

One potential partner could be Honda Motor Co., which already has r&d relationships with GM for fuel cell and autonomous vehicles.

The US$6 billion in savings includes cost reductions of US$4.5 billion and lower capital expenditure annually of nearly US$1.5 billion. The company noted that the increase in taxes have cost the corporation $1 billion.

The cost of the changes will be spread out over the next two quarters.