General Motors Canada says it expects to cease production at its Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant the week of Dec. 16, but adds in an email to Automotive News Canada that “final dates are yet to be official.”
The automaker will no longer produce the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala. Production of those vehicles stopped earlier this fall. It will also stop final assembly of the outgoing Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Oshawa, which were being shipped from Indiana for final assembly in Oshawa. The end of production will leave about 2,300 workers unemployed.
Unifor, the union representing hourly employees at Oshawa, said in an email it had expected assembly to continue to Dec. 19 but said it now has been informed that production will end Dec. 17. The union said it was preparing a public statement for “later this month.”
About 300 workers will remain employed, stamping parts for GM and, potentially, suppliers. The automaker has made a10-year commitment to build parts, such as quarter panels, trunks, doors and hoods at the plant.
GM has already broken ground on a 55-acre (22-hectare) test track at the site. Part of a $170-million investment at the plant, the track will be used to test autonomous- and connected-vehicle technology. The circuit, to be on the site of a plant that was once one of the largest auto factories in Canada, will be linked to the two-vehicle development sites GM has in the country.
General Motors said in November 2018 that no more vehicle production would be allocated to Oshawa beyond 2019 as part of a larger corporate restructuring.
Some Oshawa workers are eligible for retirement incentives of up to $150,000.
Packages for workers with 30 years of service or are of retirement age are among workers eligible for an “enhanced retirement incentive,” which includes $130,000 for non-trades workers and $150,000 for skilled-trades workers. Those workers would also receive a $10,000 vehicle voucher.
Workers with under 30 but more than 26 years of experience can opt to enter a “Leave to Retirement Program,” which would place the worker on leave while receiving 65 per cent of their wages during that time. They would receive retirement incentives of between $55,000 and $95,000 depending upon their job and years of service, as well as a $10,000 vehicle voucher, upon reaching 30 years of seniority.
Those workers can also choose to immediately retire, with retirement packages ranging from $90,000 to $115,000, as well as a vehicle voucher.
Full-time workers with seniority who are less than 50 years old but have 10 or more years of experience and will turn 50 within three years can elect to be placed on layoff before collecting early retirement benefits at age 50. They can also elect to take a buyout of $130,000 ($150,000 for skilled-trade workers) and a $10,000 vehicle voucher.
Those with less than 10 years of seniority will be offered lump sum payments ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 depending upon their experience.
A union notice on retirement previously said senior members could apply for up to $6,000 in retraining funds, while temporary, part-time workers can receive up to $3,000. GM Canada has said it would set up a “Jobs Action Centre” to help workers find new employment in the area and in related fields.