From Victims of Plant Closure to Second Career Program Graduates

March 28, 2011, 11:50 AM EST

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Minister John Milloy and CAW President Ken Lewenza will address more than 600 former Progressive Moulded Plastics workers, friends and family members for a graduation ceremony this evening of those who successfully completed the Second Career program. 

The story of the PMP workers is a successful tale of a group of people putting their lives back together after a sudden workplace closure, with government, educational institutions, community groups and unions all working together to ensure that those who lose their jobs can access the services they need to move into new employment.

What:  Final Graduation Ceremony and Closing Celebration of PMP Workers Action Centre
When:  Monday, March 28, 2011, 6.30 -8.30 pm*
Where:  Paradise Banquet Hall, 7601 Jane Street (Jane & Hwy 7)
Who:  Minister John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges & Universities (MTCU) and CAW National President Ken Lewenza will attend this special celebration.

*Former PMP workers will be available for interviews between 5:20 -6 p.m.
Minister John Milloy will begin his remarks at 6:45.

More than 170 former PMP workers will receive their certificates of achievement from Minister Milloy and Ken Lewenza for their successful completion of Second Career or upgrading programs.  The group is a part of the 700 PMP workers who have completed Second Career and/or upgrading programs since January 2010. Many have secured employment upon graduation.

"I am proud that our government and the CAW came together to create an action centre to help the 2,000 laid-off employees of PMP get a new start," said John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "Through action centres, Second Career and Employment Ontario, we're helping laid-off workers get the skills to find new jobs and build our economy."

Lewenza echoed Milloy, calling Second Career incredibly important in getting many Ontarians back on their feet after losing their job. "This graduation ceremony is a testament what can happen when a government works with stakeholders in developing creative and thoughtful solutions to job loss and unemployment," said Lewenza. "The results have been outstanding and we look forward to the Ministry's continuing support for the peer helper and Action Centre model."

On July 1, 2008,  Progressive Moulded Products (PMP), then the largest employer in the City of Vaughan, filed for bankruptcy protection and closed down its 11 facilities, leaving over 2,400 non-unionized auto-parts workers jobless and owing them over $30 million in severance and termination pay.  

The workers staged a 16 day 24/7 picket outside the main plant to block the machinery from leaving.  Their spontaneous mass action received much media attention and public support.   With funding from MTCU and CAW as sponsor, the PMP Workers Action Centre opened its doors on Sept 1, 2008.  The PMP Worker Action Centre is due to close on March 31, 2011.

A number of workers from the diverse language communities will share their own stories and be available for media interviews.

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