GM plant in Oshawa hit by Lear strike
OSHAWA -- Work at General Motor's assembly plant in Oshawa ground to a halt on Monday after a key supplier went on strike on Sunday. The shutdown affects not only the 4,000 employees at GM but...
WHITBY -- Lear employees went on strike October 28 at the Whitby location. They tried to stay warm with a fire during the cold rainy conditions. October 28, 2012
OSHAWA -- Work at General Motor's assembly plant in Oshawa ground to a halt on Monday after a key supplier went on strike on Sunday. The shutdown affects not only the 4,000 employees at GM but thousands of others at GM parts suppliers across the region. Half the plant was already closed on Monday morning, with the other half expected to close by the end of the day.
About 400 workers at a Lear Corp. plant in Whitby are on strike, with talks between the two sides were continuing Monday.
"We have a lot of areas of agreement and some areas of disagreement. That's all we can say right now," Lear Corp. spokesperson Mel Stephens said in a telephone interview.
The Whitby plant is the exclusive supplier of vehicle seats to the GM assembly plant in Oshawa. The seats are delivered on a just in time basis, which meant GM ran out within hours.
"It is unfortunate that production at the Oshawa assembly plant has been impacted by this issue between Lear and their labour partners," GM Canada spokesperson Adria Mackenzie wrote in an email. "We are hopeful that a resolution will be reached very quickly and work can resume at Oshawa."
The Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents both Lear workers and GM workers, said its members walked out over Lear's demands for concessions.
Lear workers gave up about $40 million worth of pay and benefits three years ago to help keep the company from declaring bankruptcy along with two of North America's three biggest automakers, the union said.
Now that Lear is healthy and profitable, the workers want to share in that success, CAW Local 222 president Chris Buckley said.
Lear supplies the seats for the current GM Impala, Buick Regal and Cadillac as well as the soon-to-be-announced next generation Impala. Lear also "sequences" the seats produced by another supplier for the GM Camaro.
CAW workers at the GM plant will receive up to 65 per cent of the take-home pay during the disruption caused by the strike at Lear, the union said.
The strike in Whitby came a day after 65 caw workers at Wescast Industries in Strathroy, Ont., walked off the job. The London-area plant is one of two suppliers of exhaust manifolds to GM engine plants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
The main issue in the dispute in Strathroy is GM's decision to switch to a Chinese supplier starting in July 2013, a union official said.
Workers at the Strathroy plant took a $14-an-hour cut in pay and benefits to keep the work in Canada two and a half years ago, the union said.
-- Torstar News Services
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