Tuesday, GM was chosen to be the union’s target company for contract negotiations. With reaction, here’s Joe Scarpelli.
“Council has given us the direction to do everything that we can and we literally spent hundreds of hours just on the issue of General Motors this summer.”
Oshawa mayor John Henry grew up the son of an auto worker. So he understands how a strike could impact a family. But warns losing the auto industry will impact the entire country. Henry says council has sent a letter to every provincial MPP and federal MP as well as to the premier and Prime Minister asking for support.
“The federal government and the provincial government rely upon the tax dollars collected to do infrastructure projects all over our communities. Literally coast to coast to coast in Canada.”
Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French says the Liberal government isn’t doing its part.
“They haven’t brought their voice, they haven’t paid attention, they haven’t been involved.”
An email from the office of Brad Duguid, the Minister of Economic Development and Growth, said that the Liberal government is closely monitoring negotiations and that its unprecedented support of the auto sector remains a priority.
“Why is it unprecedented? It should be consistent. We as a community and as a province know that automotive is part of our provincial framework.”
One group has launched the GM Oshawa Matters campaign seeking support which has included street level protests to banners over highway bridges. Organizer Joel Smith says so far so good.
“We believe that strategy has paid off by having us selected as the target company for the negotiations.”
Just last month members of the union voted in favour of strike action if contract demands are not met.
“This is our survival. We’re either going to continue to build automobiles or we’re not and we’re not prepared to give up on that. We’re going to fight until we get a product.”