The future of the General Motors Oshawa assembly plant is in talks again on the first day of the 2019 North American International Auto Show.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias has met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and federal minister of innovation, science and economic development, Navdeep Bains, about GM.
“It appears as if people are starting to take a different tack,” said Dias after his meetings.
He had previously criticized Ford for throwing in the towel, after Ford said there’s nothing the province can do to get GM to stay.
GM’s high-tech jobs
After his meeting with Ford Monday, Dias said he’s quite pleased to hear the premier say “he would roll up his sleeves” and be “very aggressive” in his meetings with GM.
However, that’s different from what Ford told CBC News after his meeting with Dias.
“We all want them to stay here in Ontario, but the reality is they aren’t going to, at least that one plant,” he said.
“Jerry always looks at things negative. I look at things in a positive fashion,” said Ford.
He mentioned the company’s plans to expand the new research centre in Markham, Ont., where the company hired 500 people last year.
“There’s still lots of room for manufacturing here in Ontario,” said Ford.
“But also, we can’t ignore the high-tech side. They’re all talking high-tech down here, no matter if it’s GM or Toyota or Honda or Ford, Magna that we’re meeting with and Chrysler.”
Options on the table
Dias also met with federal minister of innovation, science and economic development Navdeep Bains, saying the minister had said the government will be reinforcing the fact that Canada will not accept the Oshawa closure.
Bains said after his meeting with Dias that “all options are on the table” for trying to get GM to stay in Oshawa.
“This is really about the workers. This is about GM having a long-term future in Oshawa,” said Bains. “This is really about that community and their families as well and that’s really our focal point.”
Bains said he has a meeting planned with CEO of GM Mary Barra Monday afternoon to talk about not only the future of GM in Canada, but to also express his “deep disappointment” that the company has abruptly announced the plant closure back in November 2018.
For Dias, he said this is a much bigger fight than just Oshawa.
“When GM says something, let’s just say that they don’t stick with their word,” said Dias.
Dias will be meeting with the premier again Tuesday.