GM Canada seeks $1.5 million in damages from union

Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:52pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - General Motors of Canada is seeking $1.5 million in damages from the Canadian Auto Workers union and is seeking an injunction against the union's blockade of the company's Oshawa, Ontario, headquarters, court documents showed.

GM filed a notice of action with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against CAW Local 222 and five of its members on Tuesday.

The union's blockade has prevented anyone from entering the headquarters for eight days now. Union members set up the blockade after GM announced last week it would close its Oshawa truck plant in September 2009, with up to 2,600 workers losing their jobs.

The company and the union signed a new contract agreement just two weeks before the GM announcement. In the contract, GM said it would keep the plant open until 2011.

But the company said a sudden and drastic shift by U.S. consumers away from gas-thirsty trucks and sport utility vehicles is forcing it to close the truck plant, along with two others in United States and one in Mexico.

The court documents say GM is seeking $250,000 from the union local, as well as from each of the five named union members, saying they have "unlawfully blocked and delayed GMC employees and vehicles from entering and exiting the Oshawa facility."

The union is planning a large rally on Thursday in a parking lot across from GM headquarters.

None of the union members named in the action were immediately available for comment, nor was the spokesman for GM Canada.

(Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Peter Galloway)