TORONTO — Unifor members on the day shift at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ont., assembly plant held a sit-down protest Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. ET, stopping production for about 90 minutes, according to a union spokeswoman.
Unifor spokeswoman Kathleen O’Keefe said at about 9:45 a.m. ET union members were preparing to return to work. She later said production had resumed. A spokesperson General Motors couldn't be reached.
The protest started just hours after workers staged a similar protest during Tuesday’safternoon shift — and then walked out of the plant en masse — following news that the automaker did not accept Unifor’s proposals to save the factory, the union said.
O’Keefe said workers began sitting at their stations Tuesday "around 5 p.m. ET and all the workers walked out together at 9:45 p.m. ET.” That's about an hour earlier than the scheduled end to the Tuesday shift. The automaker made the decision to send employees home early Tuesday as a result of the protest.
Videos and photos posted on Unifor’s Twitter page late Tuesday showed buzzers sounding and workers sitting at their stations, as the union claimed workers shut down the assembly line.
“We understand our union’s frustration but need to now work together to deliver support, transsion and training for our employees for new opportunities over the coming year,” GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright told Automotive News Canada Wednesday morning.
Wright didn't know how much production was lost due to the pair of protests.
David Paterson, vice-president of corporate affairs at GM Canada, told The Canadian Press the union should instead work with the company on timing and transition plans for the approximately 3,000 workers who are losing their jobs.
GM said it has identified job opportunities, is willing to pay for retraining and is open to negotiations on packages for workers on top of what is already included in contracts.