The union representing workers at General Motors’ Oshawa, Ontario plant called on Canadian and U.S. customers on Friday to stop purchasing GM cars made in Mexico, the recent tactic in its campaign to return the automaker to the bargaining table.
GM has stated it will shut down Oshawa by the end of this year, but Unifor wants GM to keep the production until September 2020, when the present contract expires, hoping that provides enough time to protect the plant’s future.
The closure, which GM stated will impact 2,973 assembly-line jobs in Oshawa, is part of a wide restructuring aimed at reducing the automaker’s costs as investments boost in electric and self-driving vehicles.
Between 600,000 and 650,000 GM vehicles produced yearly in Mexico are delivered to Canada and the United States, representing about $20 billion in sales, Unifor President Jerry Dias stated in an interview.
GM Canada stated it imports just 3 models from Mexico, of the 47 it sells in Canada, about 37,000 vehicles on yearly basis.
Dias stopped short of calling for a total boycott of GM vehicles as Unifor also represents GM workers in Ontario which assemble the Chevrolet Equinox and work at a propulsion plant.
If the boycott does not result in negotiations with the automaker, Unifor would consider a strike, Dias stated, adding that job action is not planned at the moment.
Dias stated the boycott may hurt such Canadian auto parts providers such as Magna, Linamar and Martinrea, with operations in Mexico, but will have less impact on Canadian parts workers.
The companies could not be reached for discussion.
Dias plans to talk about the boycott with the United Auto Workers in early February. The union, which a spokesman stated has no position currently, encourages members to purchase UAW-made products.