I am writing with regard to Unifor’s Local 222’s, 'Built in Oshawa Matters', Campaign.
As an autoworker, I have felt the effects of plant closure. I first worked for GM, in London, Ont., in 1989. To stay with GM I came to Oshawa in 2003, there were 2 plants, 1 for cars and 1 for trucks, with 8 shifts working. I soon met other displaced workers, from Ste Therese, Scarborough, Windsor & St Catherines.
We had 18,000 workers in the 1990’s. Today we are down to 3 shifts, with less than 3000 working. 2 lines are shut down in one plant alone. Currently, I work in Paint Shop, in my 27th year with GM.
Driving on Simcoe Rd. through Oshawa, I can easily see the effects this downward spiral has had through job losses. The closed stores and payday advance shops are everywhere.
There are 5600 jobs associated with the auto industry, in Oshawa (parts, shipping and local suppliers). Building 718 vehicles per day, workers put $257 thousand per day into the local municipal taxes, providing much of the funds for regional services. It is believed that for every GM job, there are 7 spin-off jobs, outside the industry.
GM has not announced any new product for this plant, I wonder how many local businesses are going to close if GM leaves? How many local businesses have decided not to expand, due to the uncertainty of GM? Will this award winning auto city continue to provide good jobs, like it has for 100 years, or will greed move it outside the country?
Dave Dickhout, Sonya, Ont.