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General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra appears before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee in Washington July 17, 2014. Unifor, the union that represents about 3,600 workers at two assembly plants in Oshawa, is pressing the company to allocate new products to the plant to replace vehicles that are being shifted elsewhere or going out of production.Gary Cameron/Reuters

Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, took his evidence in favour of new investment at General Motors Co. operations in Oshawa, Ont., to the top of the house at the auto maker Tuesday in a meeting with GM chief executive officer Mary Barra.

"I'm much more confident today that they have a clear understanding of what's in Oshawa," Mr. Dias said after an hour-long meeting with Ms. Barra in Detroit.

The meeting was the latest step in separate but similar lobbying efforts by the union and the federal and Ontario goverments to persuade GM to invest in the assembly plants and save jobs.

Federal Industry Minister James Moore and Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid met with Ms. Barra and General Motors of Canada Ltd. CEO Stephen Carlisle last month during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Unifor officials met with other senior GM officials before Tuesday's meeting with Ms. Barra, and GM president Dan Amman toured the Oshawa complex in recent weeks.

Unifor, the union that represents about 3,600 workers at two assembly plants in Oshawa, is pressing the company to allocate new products to the plant to replace vehicles that are being shifted elsewhere or going out of production.

Mr. Dias said he presented data showing that the number of retirements in Oshawa this year would enable the company to hire a large number of workers at low wage rates and less expensive benefits than existing workers.

GM will be able to save $350-million over six years by hiring new workers to replace those who are retiring, he said.

"That six years is a product cycle," he said.

Mr. Carlisle acknowledged in a statement last week that no new products have been allocated to the two Oshawa assembly plants.

One plant, known as the consolidated plant, is scheduled to close next year, although its shutdown has been postponed twice. It produces the Equinox crossover and an older version of the Impala. The other plant, called the flex plant, assembles the Chevrolet Camaro, a redesigned version of the Impala, the Buick Regal and the Cadillac XTS.

No final decision on replacing those vehicles will be made until late 2016, when the costs have been studied for two years and there is a new contract in place with Unifor, Mr. Carlisle said in the statement.

The union's first priority, Mr. Dias said, is to replace the jobs being lost when Camaro production is shifted to Lansing, Mich., later this year. That affects between 850 and 1,000 people or a complete shift of production.

"We need to find a solution. Whether we ramp up volume of the Impala or the Equinox there has to be a solution to keep people at work," he said.

Mr. Dias said the union has been focusing on the message that the low value of the Canadian dollar and the quality and productivity of the work force in Oshawa make it a good place for GM to invest.

"Frankly, we're sick and tired of hearing about how we're uncompetitive and all that other nonsense," he said.

Ms. Barra said early in January that the auto maker does not make decisions on where to assemble vehicles based on short-term swings in currency values.

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