Auto workers in Oshawa got some celebrity support in their fight against General Motors Thursday.
Rock legend Sting brought his musical, The Last Ship, to town. Its theme is not only personal, but a powerful prediction of what can happen when the lifeblood of a community dries up.
The GM plant closure in Oshawa has struck a cord with the British museum.
The Last Ship is playing in Toronto right now, but the rock legend was moved to stand in solidarity with the GM workers.
“It was very important to come here and make a connection with the workers here,” Sting said, “because the story we’re telling on the stage every night at the Mirvish Princess of Wales is this story.”
The Last Ship is about the shutdown of a shipyard in Sting’s hometown of Newcastle. The industry was the lifeblood for the town and its people for centuries.
WATCH: Sting says GM only moving Oshawa factory in order to ‘pay workers less’
General Motors has also been the fabric of Oshawa and Durham Region for decades, but late last year the company announced the plant would be closing. Over 2,500 people will be losing their jobs at the end of this year, with the ripple affect impacting even more.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias says they’ve been getting their message out, but having Sting backing them up raises the bandwidth even further.
“Today is about elevating the profile here. Today was about saying to General Motors, in the strongest terms, that we’re not accepting their decision to close the facility,” said Dias.
Like the musical, Unifor and the workers continue to put up a fight. But if the workers lose the fight, Sting paints a bleak picture.
“The shipyard I was born next to is just a hole in the ground now. The town was devastated for a good 30 years by one industry just failing and not being supported by the government,” said Sting.
While the workers in the musical eventually lose the fight, GM workers are hoping they can write a different ending.