Unifor has threatened to strike at midnight next Monday unless it wins a commitment from the company for more future work in Oshawa.
For auto workers in Oshawa, it’s do-or-die time. In a city that was once synonymous with General Motors, there’s no promise of any future auto assembly work beyond 2019, so there are real fears production could shut down altogether.
That’s why Unifor, formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union, has threatened to strike at midnight next Monday, unless it wins a commitment from the company for more future work in Oshawa. “If we don’t nail it now, we’re not going to nail it done, ever,” said Jerry Dias, the union’s national president. “If they are planning on closing Oshawa, then we’re going to have a strike.”
GM officials have long insisted that it won’t talk about new products in Canada until a collective agreement is signed first. That’s why the union picked General Motors over Ford or Fiat Chrysler as its target to negotiate a contract that will hopefully set a pattern for the other two automakers.
Dias concedes choosing Ford or Fiat Chrysler would have been an easier path, but that’s not his style or his union’s style.
“If there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room, you might as well deal with the friggin’ gorilla. That’s what General Motors is,” said Dias in an interview on Tuesday, noting that a week after naming GM as the target company, there have been no discussions on the union’s main demand.
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