L to R: Unifor National President Jerry Dias, Steve Carlisle, President and Managing Director, General Motors Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend GM Canada announcement in Oshawa, ON
GM Canada has announced plans to hire up to 750 engineers over the next two years, increasing its Canadian Research and Development staff to about 1,000. Unifor, representing 23,000 auto workers, calls the creation of new R&D jobs a positive step.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias attended the June 10 announcement in Oshawa, ON.
“This is an important boost to Canada’s auto industry,” said Dias. “The creation of engineering jobs is excellent news; however the spin-off benefits of R&D positions are far smaller than an investment in the Oshawa assembly operation, which is very much in jeopardy with no production scheduled beyond 2017.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau entered the event driving a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric car, with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne as his passenger.
“General Motors decision to invest in Ontario affirms the skills and ingenuity of Canadian workers,” said Trudeau. “The investments announced today will create good paying jobs, grow Canada’s middle-class and ensure a brighter future for all Canadians. Good auto jobs will help the middle-class, and those working to join the middle-class, succeed.”
Premier Wynne stated that she is committed to working with all of the partners to make sure there is an ongoing mandate for the auto industry in Oshawa.
“We must create an environment where jobs can grow today and achieve tomorrow,” said Wynne.
The new jobs will focus on autonomous vehicle software, safety and connected vehicle technology.
“We selected Canada for this expansion because of its clear capacity for innovation, proven talent and strong ecosystem of great universities, startups and innovative suppliers,” stated GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss
Jerry Dias was joined at the announcement by Colin James, President, Unifor Local 222, Greg Moffatt, Chairperson of the Unifor/GM Master Bargaining Committee and Shane Wark, Unifor Assistant to the President.
Earlier this month, Unifor’s Auto Council voted unanimously to make new investments in Canada, including new product allocations, the top priority when bargaining commences with the Detroit Three, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Canada, this summer.
“Ensuring that we have the expertise to undertake next-generation research and development in Canada only strengthens the case for further investment in advanced manufacturing production here,” said Dias. “We’re hopeful that today’s announcement will help bolster the case for renewed investment in GM’s Oshawa operations and that we’ll be seeing new investment, and allocation of new vehicles, to secure the long-term future.”
The state of the auto-industry has wide ranging financial implications, with the Oshawa plant generating more than $1 billion per year in revenue for the federal and provincial governments. Unifor encourages all levels of government to work with GM to secure the future of the Oshawa operations.
“This is important, not only for our members but for the wider community and economy in general,” said Dias.