General Motors Canada and the Unifor union have reached an agreement regarding the transformation of the Oshawa plant in Ontario into a parts manufacturing and advanced vehicle testing site.
As part of the agreement, GM Canada has pledged to invest more than C$170 million ($126.1 million) to support a transition from vehicle assembly to a plant “focused on stamping, related sub-assembly, and other miscellaneous activities for GM and other auto industry customers.”
Unifor president Jerry Dias told Autonews Canada that GM has 10-year commitments to build parts at the plant, including quarter panels, trunks, doors and hoods. He added that the company is discussing with suppliers, including Magna International and Martinrea International, to “bring in stamping work” to Oshawa.
The two parties also agreed that a part of the Oshawa Plant property will be converted into a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles. This will further expand the capability of GM’s Canadian Technical Center (CTC) in Ontario.
As a result of these changes, the Oshawa site will get to retain 300 hourly workers of a total of 2,600, “with the potential to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years, as the business attracts new customers.” For the many employees who won’t be able to stay, GM Canada will offer special relocations for jobs at some of its other Ontario operations.
The company will also offer retraining financial support for all qualified Oshawa Assembly hourly employees seeking new employment. Additionally, GM will open a “Jobs Action Center” in Oshawa in June 2019 to help employees plan for future career opportunities outside GM.
Finally, GM will offer “enhanced retirement packages to retirement-eligible Oshawa Assembly employees,” including vouchers toward the purchase of new GM vehicles.
“This transformation plan is very significant as it positions Oshawa for a sustainable future. This agreement maximizes the support for our people and their families, and further secures Oshawa as a key in developing vehicles of the future at our new test track,” said GM Canada president and managing director Travis Hester.
Vehicle production will end in December 2019 at the Oshawa plant. The facility currently builds the previous-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, as well as the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans.