Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canadian auto workers’ union urges boycott of GM vehicles assembled in MX

The Canadian auto workers’ union today urged consumers in Canada and the United States to boycott General Motors (GM) vehicles made in Mexico to protest against the planned closure of Canadian and U.S. plants.

The Unifor union asked motorists not to buy trucks or SUVs with vehicle identification numbers that start with three, which indicates that they were assembled in Mexico.

The union said it would publicize the boycott with television, newspaper and billboard advertisements in both Canada and the United States.

GM announced in November that it planned to close its factory in Oshawa, a city around 60 kilometers northeast of Toronto.

Around 2,600 blue-collar workers will lose their jobs.

The Detroit-based company also has plans to close four factories in the United States although it will negotiate those with the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union.

The UAW has not yet added its voice to the boycott call but Unifor’s national president, Jerry Dias, said that the two unions are planning to hold talks early next month.

The factory closures are part of a restructuring strategy that will cut a total of 14,000 GM jobs.

The company is aiming to cut costs to focus capital spending on the development of autonomous and electric cars.

It has said that it has too many car-producing plants at a time when the markets of both Canada and the United States are shifting towards trucks and SUVs.

But Dias accused GM of planning to close plants in those two countries while increasing production in Mexico, where wages of auto sector workers are much lower – US $2 an hour, according to the Unifor chief.

“We’re asking you to stand up to Greedy Motors,” he told a press conference in Toronto today.

Dias said that in 2016 talks, GM agreed to keep the Oshawa plant open until 2020. Now he wants the company to commit to talks about keeping the factory open permanently.

GM currently makes Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain small SUVs in Mexico as well as full-size GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks, the Blazer SUV and the hatchback version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car.

Mexico, Canada and the United States reached a new trade deal late last year that stipulates that 40% of auto content must be made in high-wage areas where workers make at least US $16 per hour.

However, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is not expected to take effect until next year after ratification by the respective legislatures of the three countries.

Source: Associated Press (sp) 

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