Workers at Lear plant supplying GM Oshawa walk off job

'The message that we're sending is that it's not just about General Motors' workers'

TORONTO — Unionized workers at a Lear Corp seat plant in Whitby, Ontario, that supplies General Motors' Oshawa car and truck assembly operation have walked off the job, the Unifor union said on Friday.

It is the latest measure in a Unifor campaign that aims to convince GM to extend production at the Oshawa plant to September 2020, when it says the current contract expires. Under a broad restructuring announced in November, GM said Oshawa will close by end-2019.

Just over 200 Lear workers walked off the job and would not return during their 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. EST shift, said Local 222 President Colin James, adding that the union will later determine whether to continue the job action.

GM Canada was not immediately available for comment about any impact to production.

There are 350 unionized workers at Lear, a just-in-time seat supplier for GM Oshawa, which assembles the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS cars, along with GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado trucks.

"The message that we're sending is that it's not just about General Motors' workers. All the suppliers, including Lear Whitby, are impacted by a potential closure," James said.

Unifor represents 2,600 assembly-line workers at GM Oshawa and 1,800 workers at plants supplying GM's Oshawa operations.

"We demand that government act to protect these workers who stand to lose everything, and work with Unifor and GM to find a solution for the Oshawa assembly plant," Unifor president Jerry Dias said in a statement.

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