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Oshawa General Motors employees launch campaign to save plant

Last Updated Jun 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm EDT

General Motors employees in Oshawa launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #gmoshawamatters on Tuesday in the attempt to save their plant.

As it currently stands, production on all GM vehicles is to be reduced in 2017. The Oshawa plant builds four models: the Buick Regal sedan, Chevrolet Equinox SUV, the Cadillac XTS and the Chevy Impala. GM has committed only to Cadillac and Impala production beyond 2019.

The union, Unifor Local 222, wants the company to commit to bringing a new product to the plant to keep the site up and running. If the future remains in limbo, the union is threatening to strike.

Oshawa mayor John Henry and MPP Jennifer French were on hand on Tuesday morning for the launch.

“We bailed out GM, members and retirees were hit hard and we’re not gonna stand for it,” a union spokesman told the crowd at the news conference.

One auto industry analyst said Premier Kathleen Wynne isn’t helping the situation.

“There’s 2,000-plus jobs now, and it was a lot more in the past. We in Canada have lost somewhere close to 15,000 vehicle-assembly jobs, and other 50 or 60,000 automotive parts job going back to 2004 or 2005 I believe,” Dennis Desrosiers told Cynthia Mulligan.

“Keeping the plant becomes really critical from an economic health of the province point of view.”

Wynne for her part said the province announced 700 new jobs earlier this month. General Motors Canada said the jobs would be in Ontario and would include a research-and-development facility in Markham.

“We were at GM for a great announcement last week, 700 new engineering jobs, and there is a negotiation going on,” Wynne countered.

“My sincere hope is that they reach an agreement and we will see that footprint continue in that region.”

There are already contract negotiations going on at the Oshawa plant and GM has said that it can’t commit to new products until the negotiations are done.

OSHAWA GM PLANT FACTS:

– The Equinox is moving to CAMI Ingersoll next year and the Regal production ends next summer before a redesign likely at another plant.

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