Union workers at General Motors’ plant in Oshawa, Ontario, have found a high-profile ally in their fight to prevent the announced closure of the plant: Musical star Sting.
The musician, who has won multiple Grammys and fronted The Police before expanding into acting and musical theater, is joining forces with Unifor in protest of the plant closure. He and the cast of his musical, The Last Ship, are performing in Oshawa on Thursday.
The musical is currently playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. However, it will travel to Oshawa for this performance – at no cost. Unifor is paying the cost to rent the theater.
In essence, they’re showing some love on Valentine’s Day, telling a story that shares some similarities.
(Unifor plans to advertise GM boycott with Super Bowl ad. Click Here for the story.)
The Last Ship is set in the shipbuilding community in Tyne and Wear, U.K., where Sting grew up, and tells the story of a young man who returns home after 17 years at sea. But he suddenly finds the local shipyard, around which the community has always revolved, is closing and no one knows what will come next.
“We are telling the same story of what’s going on in that community so we want to offer our support,” Sting told Canadian website CityNews. “We don’t have a magic wand to wave, but I think support is important.”
He further went on to say that oftentimes large corporations deal in “abstract theories” when it comes to communities and the impact that business has on them. Those theories suggest that businesses make the community, but regularly businesses find out that just the opposite is true.
(Click Here for details about Oshawa workers walking out on strike.)
It’s a message that Unifor, with is 2,600 hourly employees at the plant, is trying to get across to GM before the company shuts it down at the end of this year.
“This new musical tells a similar story to what is threatening to happen in Oshawa, with the potential demise of the GM plants that employ thousands of people,” the union Unifor said in a statement announcing the performance.
Oshawa produces about 250 Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impalas cars daily and also finishes assembly of outgoing models of the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado trucks, which are shipped to Oshawa from a plant in Indiana. It produced 450 of the pickups daily on two shifts.
(Unifor puts pressure on GM in new advertising campaign. Click Here for the story.)
“With the departure of shipbuilding from his hometown, Sting witnessed first-hand what becomes of workers and their families when the core industry is ripped away,” Unifor President Jerry Dias said in a statement.