GM will convert Oshawa plant into autonomous vehicle test track

GM, Unifor make joint announcement about Oshawa, Ont., plant

GM, Unifor make joint announcement about Oshawa, Ont., plant

"This transformation plan is very significant as it positions Oshawa for a sustainable future".

Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, speaks at the solidarity rally for GM Oshawa workers at Dieppe Gardens, Windsor, January 11, 2019.

GM does have a future in Oshawa.

General Motors Canada says it will invest $170-million and employ 300 people to make auto parts at its plant in Oshawa, Ont., after vehicle assembly stops in December.

The move falls short of a full reversal of GM's decision in November to shutter the operation as one part of a global restructuring plan to close eight plants, cut 6,700 jobs and save the company US$6 billion annually. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

"Do I believe this is ideal?"

Dias called it a "deeply personal" announcement, noting his niece and nephew work for GM in Oshawa, while his father lives in the town and his mother is buried there.

President and Managing Director, Travis Hester says 55-acres at the Oshawa plant will also be converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles.

Dias called the plan an "innovative solution" and makes the "best out of a bad situation".

GM will offer enhanced retirement packages to retirement-eligible Oshawa Assembly employees including vouchers toward the purchase of new GM vehicles, a benefit that will support both retiring employees and GM dealerships in Durham Region and surrounding areas. A "Job Action Centre" will be established in June to help people find jobs outside of GM once the plant closes in December 2019; the centre is jointly supported by GM, Unifor and the Ontario government. Our government is there for those workers and their families.

The 60-plus-year-old facility will be transitioned into a parts producer for GM and other auto industry clients; the vehicle assembly stations will go away, and be replaced by machines for stamping aftermarket parts.

Dias said he will also meet with Premier Doug Ford on Monday to discuss the transition.

Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development Navdeep Bains said in a statement that the federal government is encouraged by GM's announcement.

"I want to thank Justin Trudeau for reaching out on a few occasions to Mary Barra [General Motors CEO] saying "listen; we're here".

"The good news for us is this will remain a GM operation", Volpe said.