Truck production to return to Oshawa three months ahead of schedule

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Published June 1, 2021 at 4:16 pm

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Full-size truck production in Oshawa will return this fall, three months ahead of schedule in what the company is calling one of the fastest plant launches in General Motors history.

GM made the announcement last month that truck production would be accelerated from the previous target of January 2022 to October of this year, a $1.3 billion investment that will create 1,700 jobs – as well as indirect supplier positions – “just as Canada recovers from Covid-19.”

GM has been making vehicles in Oshawa for a century and has been producing cars and trucks at the massive Autoplex facility in the city’s south end since the 1950s. But in 2018, with staffing on the decline over the previous two decades from an historic high of about 20,000 employees to less than 3,000, the company announced that vehicle production would end in late 2019.

Six months before that target date, GM threw laid-off workers a bone when they said they would spend $170 million to convert the plant from vehicle assembly to body stamping and would convert 22 hectares of the facility to a test track for robotic vehicles.

By November 2020, after pressure from Unifor President Jerry Dias, the company did an about-face and announced they would be re-opening the Oshawa plant to once again make Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pick-up trucks, a move Dias called a “home run.”

The company is now hiring, and available positions include 1,500 production line workers for positions starting at an hourly wage of $23 per hour; 110 certified electricians starting at $43 per hour; and 60 certified industrial mechanic-millwrights for immediate positions starting at $43 per hour,” according to a GM news release. The jobs are full-time, permanent and pensioned, with premiums for shifts and overtime.

They are also recruiting for management positions.

To prepare Oshawa Assembly for full-size truck production, the team is installing more than 1,200 new robots that will cover 30 acres of automation at the plant.

As well, the announcements mean there will be new jobs in feeder companies, and GM has announced that logistics will be handled by TFT Global Inc. beginning this fall. TFT Global is headquartered in Tillsonburg, Ontario.

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