While Americans were watching ads for beer, cars, and snacks during the Super Bowl, the Canadian autoworkers union Unifor got serious by airing a spot castigating General Motors for moving jobs outside of the country. Prior to the commercial airing, GM requested that the union not air the ad, but Unifor declined. The General is now very unhappy and is reportedly considering whether to sue the Unifor for libel, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Unifor's major complaint comes from GM's announcement in November that the automaker intends to close the factory in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. In the wake of that announcement, the organization launched the Save Oshawa campaign, which the Super Bowl ad was only one part of. The crusade has also asked Canadian buyers to boycott purchasing GM products from Mexico
"We stand by the belief that if GM wants to sell here then it needs to build here, and we will not be intimidated from sharing that message with Canadians in this ad," Unifor President Jerry Dias told the Detroit Free Press.
GM's major complaint about the spot is Unifor's claims that the company is being greedy by previously taking a bailout from the Canadian government and now shutting down a plant there. GM argued that the money was a loan, and it paid back the debt in full, including interest.
The announcement about the plant closures also included the factories in Lordstown, Ohio; Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan; Warren, Michigan; and White Marsh, Maryland. GM also said it planned to reduce salaried employees by 15 percent and to cut executive positions by 25 percent. The company predicted $6 billion in savings by the end of 2020.
GM won't shutter the plants immediately. Instead, it simply won't allocate new products to the locations, and this will keep them open through 2019.