Morale ‘terrible’ after news that 1,200 jobs will be cut in January

When Tanya met Patrick they both had jobs at General Motors in Oshawa. When Tanya marries Patrick in November, they’ll be on the verge of losing those jobs.


“It’s my life. I’m devastated,” said Tanya Dodd who, along with fiancé Patrick Elmhurst, has worked at the truck plant for three years.


Their jobs are likely among the 1,200 that will be cut in January when the automaker eliminates the overnight shift because of poor pickup truck sales in the U.S. The permanent layoffs will affect production workers, tradespeople and support staff hired since 2000, according to spokesperson Stew Low. They’ll learn their fate by Sept. 10.


“I’m trying to be optimistic,” said Dodd, a fifth-generation GM worker who heard the news on the radio driving in from Bowmanville. “I’m hoping some people will retire” so fewer employees will be laid off.


The latest bad news comes after GM’s 2005 decision to consolidate its two Oshawa car plants into one facility, slashing about 3,600 jobs. Those cuts, due to start in November, may be reduced through attrition and early retirement packages.

Elsewhere in Durham Region’s largest city yesterday, the news was greeted with grim faces. In the mayor’s office, John Gray was dismayed by the latest shock to the automotive industry, “the cornerstone of our success.”

While Gray sees “rays of hope” in GM’s plan to start producing hybrid trucks next year, “there is nothing we can do in Oshawa to bolster the U.S. economy.” And bad news at GM means bad news for local business. The Canadian Auto Workers Union estimates that the job cuts will wipe out at least $100 million in annual incomes.

At times like these, “Many people put a clamp on their wallet,” said Gray. “They stop shopping. They say ‘... I better not spend my money’.”

Electrician Gerry Bryne, with 30 years’ seniority, has nothing to fear. But morale on the floor is “terrible,” he said.

Trickle effect

  • Industry experts say the layoffs are likely to lead to the loss of more than 7,000 other jobs in the auto parts and service sector.