Last week, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that the automaker had reached a tentative labor agreement with the Canadian auto workers union Unifor. The $1.1 billion CAD deal was reached in time to avoid a strike, and is mostly aimed at the company’s Oshawa Assembly facility in Ontario. More specifically, the deal will transform the plant from a sub-assembly operation into a full-blown production line for GM trucks: the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500.
Oshawa Assembly was – for a brief moment in time – previously a production site for final assembly of the last-generation Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks on the K2 platform, before the 10 million square foot factory was put on stamping and sub-assembly duty for the trucks in 2019, along with vaguely described plans to convert 22 hectacres of the campus for an autonomous vehicle test track, seemingly as a bone to throw Justin Trudeau.
It seems that since that time, GM has found better use for Oshawa. With pickup truck demand absolutely white hot, the Detroit automaker has announced that the facility is on track to start producing Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks full-stop by January 2022, at which point the upgrades to the facility should be complete. The decision comes after a tentative bargaining agreement with Canadian automotive labor union Unifor.
General Motors also builds its half-ton pickup trucks in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as well as Silao, Mexico. If the deal goes through, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 will be the only pickup trucks in the industry assembled in all three countries simultaneously.
Barra stated that the decision to expand Oshawa Assembly comes as a result of high market demand for GM trucks. Ever since the initial coronavirus-related lockdowns, The General has struggled to get their inventory back to where they’d like it. Despite production running around the clock, the company doesn’t think their U.S. workers are going to get it done on their own.
This is something that UAW employees might not appreciate. According to a report from The Detroit News, the decision by GM has left some American auto workers worried about their future. More specifically, the employees are worried about what happens if the demand for either the Chevrolet Silverado or the GMC Sierra slows down in the years to come. The paper also noted that some employees were upset that GM didn’t give workers in Flint and Fort Wayne the chance to increase the rate of production within those facilities before the decision. Regardless of how the UAW takes the decision from GM, it is clear that some of the Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra pickup trucks on your dealer lot may be coming from Canada in the near future.