Following Oshawa GM sitdown protest, autoworkers fed poison of Canadian nationalism at Windsor rally
12 January 2019
Top officials from the Unifor union used a rally Friday in Windsor, Ontario, ostensibly called to oppose GM plant closings, as a platform to spout Canadian nationalism. The gathering took place across the Detroit River from General Motors’ world headquarters in Detroit where a stockholders meeting was taking place.
The rally came in the wake of a wildcat job action by workers at the Oshawa, Ontario GM plant slated by GM for closure. Workers staged a sitdown protest Tuesday, stopping production at the facility which employs 2,600, following an announcement by GM reaffirming its plan to close the plant later this year, once one of the largest car plants in the world.
While press accounts claimed more than 1,000 were in attendance at the Windsor rally, there appeared to be far short of that number. It was evident Unifor did little to promote the protest in a city where there are thousands of Ford and Fiat Chrysler autoworkers, including 6,000 at the Chrysler minivan plant alone, which was on shutdown this week.
Unifor has adopted the slogan “Sell in Canada, build in Canada” as its mantra. The union printed up hundreds of jackets with the slogan “Canada didn’t bail out GM to move our jobs to Mexico.” In an evident racist gibe at Mexican workers, a woman festooned in stereotyped Mexican clothing, including a large sombrero, stood near the speakers’ platform.
Further underscoring its nationalist orientation, Unifor made no appeal for a common struggle with US autoworkers on the other side of the Detroit River who face the closure of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
Unifor bused in perhaps 300 Oshawa workers…