The last vehicles rolled down the line Wednesday at General Motor’s Oshawa Assembly Plant as an era of production comes to a close for the Ontario motor city. “This has been coming in slow motion, and suddenly it’s here,” said Joel Smith, a union organizer with Unifor Local 222.
Outside the plant, workers hugged in the bitter cold as some walked in for the final shift while others walked out into an unknown future.
GM announced in November last year that it would wind down production at the plant, which has been in operation since 1953, while GM first started producing vehicles in the city east of Toronto in 1918.
“It’s not lost on anybody that this is the birthplace of General Motors. This is where it started, and that they just walked away from this, from vehicle production after over a 100 years. It’s hard to stomach,” said Smith.
The closure means about 2,600 unionized employees will lose their jobs, though about 300 are being saved through a $170 million investment by GM to turn part of the operation into a parts plant.
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