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GM Oshawa plant will create 1,000 jobs over 2 years

OSHAWA -- General Motors' decision to gear up production in Motor
City has brightened the new year for residents in this beleaguered auto

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, a group of
suppliers to the automotive industry, predicted this week that GM would
expand three new lines in Oshawa and create up to 1,000 jobs.

While GM has not confirmed job estimates for new lines
starting between 2011 and 2013, Chris Buckley, president of Canadian
Auto Workers (CAW) Local 222, said the expansion was part of tough
contract negotiations.

GM is expected to introduce a new Impala model -- or replacement vehicle -- in three years and the Cadillac XTS in early 2012.

With the company closing the Park Rd. S. truck plant -- cutting
2,500 jobs -- Buckley said the union "aggressively" insisted GM
continue producing vehicles in Canada.

Agreeing to more cuts and bringing labour costs down to match
builders of foreign cars in Ontario was necessary for the company's
survival, he said in an interview. "Without significant sacrifices we
had to make in May 2009, none of this would be coming through.

"That was unfair, but the alternative would have been significant," he said.

Until GM received government loan promises late in 2008, "we
didn't know if there was going to be a General Motors," Buckley said.

The popular Camaro sports car and Impala full-size sedan are produced by two shifts at GM plants, which employ 4,600 people.

In addition to the potential of adding or bringing back 750 to
1,000 workers, he said new production could mean up to 7,500 "spinoff
jobs" for companies that supply General Motors with auto parts.

Kevin Wilson, a 25-year veteran, said, "It has been a really
rough year, with layoffs and the truck plant closing. I know some
people who've been off for a year.

"We were at one time a one-horse town," relying almost
entirely on GM, Mayor John Gray said, adding 29% of the modern
diversified economy comes from auto-making.

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