United Auto Workers' GM strike reaches day 5, pain is spreading

Daniel Fowler
September 21, 2019

Union officials say almost 700 workers at the General Motors propulsion plant in St. Catharines were handed temporary layoff notices Friday.

Kelly said she met with union leaders and members to give them a voice in negotiations with GM.

"They're getting clobbered", Dias said regarding the suppliers, adding non-unionized plants are being impacted as well.

Union officials say Navistar's truck plant in Springfield will shut down two production lines for a week beginning Monday because of parts shortages.

On Friday, GM halted production on its flex line in Oshawa that produces the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS in a move that affected close to 700 workers. The automaker initially said it furloughed roughly 1,200 workers at the plant earlier this week, but it has since revised that number higher and expanded the temporary layoffs at the Oshawa plant.

Since auto manufacturing is a cross-border endeavour and most facilities only carry one or two days of parts inventory in a just-in-time system, Canadian GM plants and auto parts suppliers have been bracing for fallout from the strikes south of the border.

It's unknown how many workers at suppliers in the US have been impacted by the strike.

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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly visited striking members of UAW Local 31 Thursday.

Work continues at stamping operations in Oshawa, a parts plant in St. Catharines and the CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, which makes sport utility vehicles.

"It's tough on those members, and they're looking to get back to work as soon as possible, but with the US strike, nobody knows how long they'll be out", James said.

"People are very supportive".

About 3,900 people in Southern Ontario's auto sector are laid off on Friday as the five-day strike by 49,000 General Motors Co. workers in the United States halts the supply chain that links North American vehicle production.

The potential plant closures for the US were among the major sticking points for the UAW's negotiations with GM.

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