GM–20% in Canada: I don’t get it

There is a tentative agreement between GM and the CAW–which may not cut wage and benefit costs enough. I find this aspect of the situation especially mystifying:

Chris Buckey, the president of CAW Local 222 in Oshawa and the chairman of the GM bargaining committee, said the sputtering automaker has guaranteed to maintain 20% of its manufacturing in Canada.

And from last month:

In its plan, GM Canada said the company will maintain Canada’s share of production, expected to range between 17 per cent and 20 per cent between 2009 and 2014.
The company is closing a pickup-truck plant this spring in Oshawa, its main assembly operation in Ontario, with the loss of 2,600 jobs. It will also close a transmission plant by 2010 in the southwestern Ontario border city of Windsor, with the loss of another 1,400 jobs…

As I wrote earlier:

…GM Canada will soon shrink, under its own plan for survival, from 20,000 jobs just a few years ago to some 7,000.

Now these are the General’s plans for the US:

The company said it plans to reduce its total U.S. work force from 96,537 people in 2008 to between 65,000 and 75,000 in 2012, but it did not specify how many of the surviving jobs would be salaried or hourly….

So Canada, with 7,000 employees, will have around 10% of the number of US employees. I just don’t see how those 10%, with just one assembly plant at Oshawa and a powertrain plant at St. Catharines, will produce 20% of GM’s manufacturing. And the Oshawa plant will soon be producing just the Chevy Impala and the re-born muscle Camaro (great idea that, some Camaros already made). Other new product has yet to be formally confirmed; I can’t see the US Congress being happy to give GM more “loans” (or the UAW being amused) if the General assigns new vehicles to Oshawa that could be assembled in the US.
In any event, the key point is that too many people in Canada do not seem to realize is that the health of the broad Canadian automotive sector depends on the state of the North American industry as a whole, not on the Canadian plants of the Detroit Three.
Mark C.

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