All vehicle production at General Motors’ assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., stopped Friday, due to the UAW strike against the automaker in the United States, the company said in a statement.
Workers in Oshawa complete final assembly of previous-model Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. They also assemble the Chevrolet Impala on a separate line.
“We have seen disruption of our vehicle assembly work at the Oshawa Assembly Plant due to the UAW strike. We plan to resume these operations as quickly as possible upon resolution of the UAW strike,” GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright said in a statement.
Unifor Local 222 President Colin James, who represents workers in Oshawa, told Automotive News Canada on Thursday that he expected nearly all his 2,600 members there will be temporarily laid off by week’s end. A few unionized maintenance members will still report to work, he said.
The company stopped truck production on Tuesday, sending about 1,200 hourly workers home due to a lack of parts with more than 30 GM operations in the United States shut because of the strike by some 49,000 UAW workers.
On Friday, GM halted production on its Oshawa flex line, which produces the Chevrolet Impala and employs about 650 workers.
Wright said work continues at stamping operations in Oshawa, a parts plant in St. Catharines, Ont., and its CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., which makes the Chevrolet Equinox.
James said once production at Oshawa stops, another 1,700 members of Unifor Local 222 who work at nearby supply plants will be temporarily laid off.
“As soon as General Motors goes down, it impacts them right away,” he said. “They will be laid off at the same time.”
"We anticipated there would be an impact because of the strike," David Paterson, a spokesman for General Motors Canada, said Wednesday.
All vehicle assembly at Oshawa will cease by the end of 2019. About 300 jobs will saved as the plant converts into a stamping and parts operations. The automaker is spending $170-investment to transform the plant into a parts manufacturing business and install a 55-acre test track for autonomous and other advanced technology vehicles.
Meanwhile, James said Local 222 fully supports the UAW’s efforts.
“It’s about workers, regardless of which country you’re in, and the fight to improve their livelihoods,” he said. “It really hits home. Oshawa at one time had 23,000 members and I’ve watched it slowly dwindle. I don’t want to see that happen in any other plant or to any other worker.”
In Windsor, Ont., Unifor Local 444 President David Cassidy said about 80 drivers for Martin Transport Systems, a just-in-time logistics company that services General Motors, have been temporarily laid off.
Cassidy and members of Unifor Local 444 on Wednesday delivered donuts to striking GM workers at GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, a plant also slated for closure at the end of the year.
“They’re not making much headway right now,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said Unifor Local 195 in Windsor represents hundreds of workers in the supply chain that feeds GM in the United States. Local 195 President Emile Nabbout couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The strike also lead to an immediate halt in production of the Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Chevrolet models assembled in the U.S. for Canadian sale. They include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra — the automaker's top-selling vehicles in Canada — both of which are built in Flint, Mich. GM Canada's Oshawa assembly plant only builds the outgoing models of those two trucks. Other U.S. vehicle production affected by the strike includes the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse, assembled in Lansing, Mich.
Wright previously told Automotive News Canada that the automaker’s Canadian dealer network has not yet been affected by the strike.