Workers at GM's Oshawa facility hold work stoppage over planned closure

The Oshawa General Motors car assembly plant is shown in Oshawa Ont. on Nov 26 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Eduardo Lima

The General Motors vehicle assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

"There would be a major ripple effect that would be felt far beyond Oshawa and even Ontario", Unifor President Jerry Dias said in a press release.

The labour action came after union president Jerry Dias sat down with GM on Tuesday to talk about proposals the union had made to extend the life of the Ontario plant, but came away empty-handed.

"Unfortunately, all Unifor's proposals would involve substantial incremental costs and a further deterioration of GM's competitive position", GM said, adding that "it can not pursue them" because of the weakening market in North America.

"We really would like to work with Unifor to focus on having an absolutely gold-plated transition plan", he said when asked if there was any hope GM might change course.

"I am deeply disappointed by the response from the corporation", said Dias at a press conference in Windsor on Tuesday.

"We are not backing down... we're not going anywhere", he said.

Provincial government revenue would also fall by $330 million in 2020 and an estimated $500 million a year by 2030 while federal government revenue would drop by $520 million a year, according to the study.

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Hundreds of workers walked off the job at the Oshawa plant in protest on the day GM announced its plans.

A large rally has also been planned by the union for 10:30 a.m.in Windsor on Friday - scheduled to coincide with an investors' meeting GM is hosting across the river in Detroit.

GM said in a letter to Dias that it had already considered several proposals including those the union raised at the meeting.

But Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, won't count out Unifor from getting some sort of deal.

"This is important for the future of the auto industry in Canada, especially for GM workers still here", said Jim Wilkes, executive with Unifor Local 27 in London. He noted that GM fulfilled its repayment obligations under the last bailout.

BMO Capital Markets cited the restructuring as a key factor on Monday when it upgraded GM to outperform and raised its price target to $41 from $38.

The union is also considering its legal options, Dias said.

"Our position is clear that we expect GM to allocate product and continue plant operations past 2019". "It's about the lack of acknowledgement about the success that GM is enjoying today". "Union plans to escalate campaign to #SaveOshawaGM", Dias tweeted Tuesday after the meeting. "It goes down to a deeper question of, does a commercial entity have an obligation to community loyalty".

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