GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

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Thread: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

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    GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    http://ctv2.theglobeandmail.com/serv...N/ctv-business

    DETROIT — General Motors Corp. has rebuffed an attempt by its Canadian union to win a reprieve for a pickup truck plant slated for shutdown, sticking to its contention that a shift in consumer attitudes has devastated demand for the vehicles.

    A one-hour meeting in Detroit Friday between the company's senior executives and union leaders failed to produce any promise that the Oshawa, Ont., plant east of Toronto will remain open, dashing the hopes of the Canadian Auto Workers, which had hoped to find a compromise.

    “We're walking away extremely disappointed. We still feel betrayed,” CAW president Buzz Hargrove said after the meeting with GM chief executive Rick Wagoner, chief financial officer Fritz Henderson and GM Canada president Arturo Elias.

    “They're still saying that things changed radically enough that they can't live up to their commitment.”

    The union contends the plant shutdown, which will put 2,600 employees out of work next year, violates a collective agreement signed in May, in which the union agreed to several concessions to maintain the jobs. It says the automaker promised that Oshawa would build a new generation of light-duty trucks to be introduced in 2011 in exchange for millions of dollars in labour cost reductions.

    GM has said it is simply responding to dropping demand for pickup trucks made at the factory, in the wake of soaring gasoline prices that have made fill ups prohibitively expensive for owners of the Silverados and other half-ton trucks assembled in Oshawa.

    GM Canada spokesman Stew Low said the company understands the union's disappointment, but maintained there was a “good exchange” in Detroit between the two sides at the meeting.

    Mr. Low said the company did bargain in good faith because at the time of negotiations with the CAW it believed the shift in demand away from trucks was cyclical.

    Data gathered since then, Mr. Low said, showed that it wasn't, and that the drop in demand accelerated “rapidly and dramatically”.

    The meeting came on the third day of protests at GM's Canadian headquarters in Oshawa. Union local president Chris Buckley, who had warned the protest would escalate if the outcome isn't satisfactory, said Friday it will continue.

    “It's tough on everybody but we'll get through this together,” said Mr. Buckley, who planned to return to Oshawa to speak with workers there.

    At the blockade, Jim Freeman, 53, who has worked at the truck plant for 25 years, said he was surprised GM did not offer a solution that would have kept the factory open.

    “Then, I guess, their request is denied to come into their building,” said Mr. Freeman.

    “It shows you how heartless they are, right?” he said.

    “They have no loyalty to employees that produce the best vehicles in the world.”

    Mr. Hargove said the union will discuss its options after its national convention next week.

    “We may go to the labour board, we may go to court, we may go to expedited arbitration, or we may take some other action,” he said following what he described as a “tense” meeting.

    “It wasn't a great meeting. They had made up their minds going in.”

    Under the labour agreement reached with GM, a plant in Oshawa will begin building a new Camaro sports car, along with a rear-wheel drive car. The contract also preserved one shift at the truck assembly factory in Oshawa until 2009.

    But GM said this week that rising fuel prices have lessened demand for gas-guzzling pickup trucks much faster than expected and it would therefore have to stop truck production at the plant.

    Mr. Hargrove said the union told GM it is not convinced that economic conditions changed so radically in such a short time.

    He said Mr. Wagoner told the CAW he wants to work with the union to bring a possible third vehicle to the GM car plant in Oshawa “but the problem with that is it's difficult for us to get our minds around that when they've made a clear-cut commitment on the truck plant.”

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    I guess the CAW can't really see what's happening. Things are changing, and truck sales have slowed drastically. And I doubt we'll see an increase even if gas prices go down. Folks are simply too shocked now to think any downturn will be anything but temporary.

    The CAW should be trying to get smaller vehicles into Oshawa by negotiating a good deal with GM. They're no longer the low-cost supplier for GM due to the dollar so they have to do something innovative.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    The CAW should be begging GM for a small car. Right now they are acting like children. There is no way GM is ever going to produce trucks at Oshawa ever again. The market won't support it.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    You know GM really should offer a solution (ex. temporary shutdown for re-tooling the plant for car production). Its a no-brainer - keep the employees happy, have one of the best plants they have produce a volume seller car etc...

    If GM were conducting research into the market conditions while the CAW negotiations were going on they should have at least provided for an alternative to truck/SUV production if the results of the research proved out they way it did.
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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by jkennedy293 View Post
    The CAW should be begging GM for a small car. Right now they are acting like children. There is no way GM is ever going to produce trucks at Oshawa ever again. The market won't support it.
    +1! This just goes to show unlike what they said how big, bad GM doesn't care about the workers who build the best quality vehicles in the world, the union workers and leaders don't care about the company. Go ahead and keep building products you can't sell and that you have to put $10,000.00 on the hood so you eventually loose money on them. I need a job and it's your responsibility to provide it for me! What other industry allows this mentality? Not mine that's for sure!

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    No the smart thing to do is shut down Flint and Pontiac, Keep Oshawa building trucks with 2 shifts.

    Retool Moraine for a car haha I have to keep on putting that in.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    what about Janesville any talks of building a car at that plant?

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by VibenPontiac View Post
    You know GM really should offer a solution (ex. temporary shutdown for re-tooling the plant for car production). Its a no-brainer - keep the employees happy, have one of the best plants they have produce a volume seller car etc...

    If GM were conducting research into the market conditions while the CAW negotiations were going on they should have at least provided for an alternative to truck/SUV production if the results of the research proved out they way it did.
    Solution? So GM can suffer more strikes that cost GM $$$$? You have to be joking. If I were in charge, there would be absolutely no GM plant in NA or Canada. Consider yourselves lucky that you are only losing one plant.......for now.....
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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    I have a feeling it is more expensive to produce vehicles in Canada than the US at this point in time. Not long ago, the exchange rate was $1.60 to $1. Now it is about even. What once was a huge difference is no longer.

    It is unfortunate.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by doh View Post
    “They have no loyalty to employees that produce the best vehicles in the world.”
    And what kind of loyalty has the union members shown to the company over the years? None at all.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by NfamousZ24 View Post
    No the smart thing to do is shut down Flint and Pontiac, Keep Oshawa building trucks with 2 shifts.

    Retool Moraine for a car haha I have to keep on putting that in.
    Financially that is not a good solution. Oshawa plant is more expensive to run than any other plants and it does not currently conform to government regulations which will be enforced in a few years. To add to this, vehicles out of Canada cost more to export into other markets and lose money.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by jkennedy293 View Post
    The CAW should be begging GM for a small car. Right now they are acting like children. There is no way GM is ever going to produce trucks at Oshawa ever again. The market won't support it.
    GM can not make enough profit on a low priced vehicle,retail price under $15K made in north america to stay in business and pay the legacy costs. they need vehicles that make GM $5K/10K + profit per vehicle to stay in business.
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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    “It's tough on everybody but we'll get through this together,” said Mr. Buckley, who planned to return to Oshawa to speak with workers there.

    At the blockade, Jim Freeman, 53, who has worked at the truck plant for 25 years, said he was surprised GM did not offer a solution that would have kept the factory open.

    “Then, I guess, their request is denied to come into their building,” said Mr. Freeman.
    Watch out. GM might realize that they don't really need a Headquarters building or staff in Canada either. With technology today everything can be run from the employees homes, remote locals around Oshawa or Detroit
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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by NfamousZ24 View Post
    No the smart thing to do is shut down Flint and Pontiac, Keep Oshawa building trucks with 2 shifts.

    Retool Moraine for a car haha I have to keep on putting that in.
    I'm not sure if you've been following the downward spiral of the US dollar lately, but I'm pretty sure GM is going to build a lot of products at home in the US and export them vs. the other way around.

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    Re: GM rebuffs union call to keep plant alive

    Quote Originally Posted by fp115 View Post
    Financially that is not a good solution. Oshawa plant is more expensive to run than any other plants and it does not currently conform to government regulations which will be enforced in a few years. To add to this, vehicles out of Canada cost more to export into other markets and lose money.
    I don't think GM Canada has much of a future. I am starting to think that it will be only Honda,Toyota and possibly Ford building vehicles in Canada withing 5 years. Following this syory through the news, and hearing, and reading the general publics opinion of GM,and the vehicles they build, doesn't give me a good feeling for the future.

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