GM expected to announce closure of Oshawa plant Monday, reports say

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The General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant has been building world-class vehicles since November 7, 1953 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Photo credit: General Motors Canada

General Motors is expected to announce Monday its plan to close its Oshawa Assembly Plant, according to The Globe and Mail.

Unifor, which represents approximately 2,500 employees there, said at the end of Sunday that "no product has been assigned to the Oshawa Assembly Plant after December 2019."

"Unifor today received notice from General Motors that the company will make a major announcement tomorrow that will affect its global operations," the union said in a statement. "On the basis of commitments made during contract negotiations 2016, Unifor does not accept this announcement and immediately calls on GM to comply with the spirit of that agreement."

During contract negotiations with Unifor in 2016, GM promised to spend $ 400 million on upgrading the flex line at Oshawa.

Unifor is scheduled to hold a discussion with GM tomorrow and will provide further comments after the meeting.

The plant in Oshawa, just northeast of Toronto, has two assembly lines; the flex line produces the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala with low volume while the truck line produces the light and heavy Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

The offices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford were informed of the decision before the official announcement on Monday, according to The Globe and Mail.

A Unifor official told Automotive News Canada that GM told the union Sunday afternoon on a conference call about its intention to end the truck line at the Oshawa plant, an announcement that had been expected for some time.

The union, however, said that GM also "sent serious signals" about the future of the GM Oshawa operation.

A Canada Canada spokeswoman told the Canadian press that the company had no news to share Sunday evening and did not comment on speculation.

Colin James, president of Unifor Local 222, which represents approximately 2,500 employees per hour at the assembly plant in Oshawa, said in a text to Automotive News Canada that the union will have more details tomorrow, as GM makes an announcement of 10.00.

"I'm not sure if it's a closure," he said later during a telephone conversation.

Oshawa mayor John Henry told the Canadian press that he has seen published reports about the Oshawa but has not heard of the company – the main employer of the city.

The report was a surprise for two members of Parliament for the area.

"Extremely worried about reports of possible closure of GM Canada Oshawa operations," wrote Erin O & # 39; Toole, Conservative Member of Parliament for Durham, on Twitter. He said he and Oshawa MEP Colin Carrie were looking for more information. Carrie also tweeted that the report was "very worrying".

Jennifer French, Oshawa NDP MPP, says she finds the report on the closure of the plant seriously.

"If GM Canada does indeed abandon one hundred years of industry and community – abandoning workers and families in Oshawa – then this is a heartless decision that must be fought," she said in a statement.

The future of the factory has become increasingly sombre, while North American consumers are moving away from cars and massively driving to company cars and pick-ups.

New Cadillac sedans – expected to be CT5 and CT4 – will eventually replace the ATS, CTS and XTS large sedan in Cadillac's car line-up. And GM also builds the Impala in a factory in Michigan.

General Motors said in June that it invested C $ 232 million (US $ 175 million) in a Mid-Michigan plant to build two of Sedans of the next generation of Cadillac, but the automaker did not say how that production in the assembly plant of Oshawa.

Meanwhile, GM is expected to end production of the departing Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra by the end of next year, which Oshawa would leave without producing a pick-up.

Currently, via a process known as the "Oshawa shuttle program", unfinished Silverado and Sierra cabs with double cabs are shipped to the Canadian plant from a factory in Fort Wayne, Ind. The models were painted at the factory in Oshawa and the employees carry out the final assembly of the vehicles.

The Oshawa shuttle started at the beginning of 2018. During the summer, heavy-duty pickups and a second production shift were added. According to GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter, the program is expected to run by the end of 2019 on the basis of market demand.

She said the program had been a "great success" and "is on track to build more vehicles (60,000 per year) than the original forecast."

The GM Oshawa Assembly Plant has been building vehicles in Oshawa since 7 November 1953. Before 1953 the factory produced McLaughlin Buicks and became one of six locations where Chevrolet vehicles were built before it merged with GM in 1918.

The Canadian press, Automotive News, Grace Macaluso and Robert Bostelaar contributed to this report.