Oshawa Likely to Lose Consolidated Line in 2017

There might be some light at the end of the assembly line for Oshawa — but it will come with a price.

According to the Windsor Star, the plant’s Consolidated Line, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox in an overflow capacity using bodies shuttled from CAMI, won’t get another stay of execution and will certainly close in 2017.

However, a General Motors Canada executive familiar with the negotiations says that closing the Flex Line is not a “foregone conclusion.”

“The line is due to end production sometime in 2017,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity with the Windsor Star. “We haven’t said exactly when, but likely mid-year when we end production of the current generation of the Equinox”

GM Canada has postponed closing the Consolidated Line five times during the last eleven years. It was most recently scheduled to shut down in 2016. An announcement last year kept the line open into 2017.

Closing the Consolidated Line will take 750 jobs with it. In total, the Oshawa Assembly facility employs 2,400 hourly workers. The end of Camaro production on the Flex Line in November 2015 resulted in approximately 1,000 layoffs.

GM Canada has openly stated it will make no decisions on its Oshawa Flex Line until union negotiations conclude later this summer. Unifor, the union that represents hourly employees at Oshawa and other Detroit Three plants in Ontario, has promised to make product allocation a strike issue during labor negotiations. Unifor also believes the Consolidated Line can be saved.

“The life of that plant has been extended a few times and I don’t expect that to change,” Unifor president Jerry Dias told the Windsor Star. “There will be overflow from CAMI for several years.”

However, dumping the Consolidated Line to get production allocation for the Flex Line might be the best outcome for hourly employees.

“(The Flex Line) has the ability to come up with amazing solutions; we’re not ruling anything out, but we’ve clearly said that we’re going to end production on the consolidated line next year,” said Windsor Star’s source.

The current four-year contract between Unifor and General Motors expires September 19. Negotiations begin August 10.