By Vipal Monga
General Motors Co. has furloughed roughly 2,000 hourly workers at a plant in Oshawa, Ontario, near Toronto, as the impact of a strike by the United Auto Workers in the U.S. ripples north.
"Car production at Oshawa assembly was impacted this morning due to a parts shortage related to the UAW strike," said GM spokesman Daniel Flores in an emailed statement.
The company halted production of 1,200 workers on a truck assembly line earlier this week but expanded the furloughs to include workers making Chevrolet Impalas and Cadillacs on Friday. The workers will continue to get paid, said Mr. Flores.
The company had already scheduled production at the plant to close at end of the year, as part of an attempt by GM to cut costs.
GM, which also produces engines and SUVs in Canada, employs approximately 7,000 workers in Canada, said the GM spokesman. The other workers remain on the job, and the spokesman declined to say whether their lines could also be idled if the walkout drags on.
The UAW's strike is one of the largest private-sector walkouts in the U.S. in years. Analysts estimate it is costing GM $50 million to $100 million a day in lost profits.
The strike also presents a challenge for the auto industry's parts suppliers, many of which are Canadian companies. There are 150 Canadian supplies plants in the U.S., employing 43,000 workers, said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, a trade group that represents 300 companies.
Though business from other carmakers continues to come in for those suppliers, the longer the strike drags on, the harder it will be for those suppliers to keep business going as usual, said Mr. Volpe. "Canadian companies have no interest in seeing American shutdowns," he said. "Our hope is they figure it out over the weekend."
Aurora, Ontario-based Magna International Inc., one of North America's largest auto suppliers, declined to offer specifics on how the strike is affecting its operations. "Like the entire supply base, we are in wait-and-see mode," said a company spokeswoman in an emailed statement. "We are encouraged to see both sides get back to the negotiating table, working towards an agreement. Until then, we are continuing to monitor the situation as Magna supplies GM on a number of programs globally. We remain hopeful for a quick resolution."
Write to Vipal Monga at email@example.com