CAW Gets Partial Payment for Plastech Workers, Continues Fight For Labour Law Changes

August 12, 2008

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Leamington, Ontario
August 12, 2008

       August 12, 2008. Leamington, Ontario, the trucks continue to haul away the equipment from the now closed Plastech plant as 300 workers, members of CAW Local 1769, are on the street looking for jobs.
       At a press conference at the Plastech Job Action Centre set up by the Canadian Auto Workers, Ken Lewenza, chair of the Chrysler Bargaining Committee announced that the union had negotiated $500,000 from Chrysler to help the workers who were not given their pay in lieu of proper notice when Plastech went bankrupt and closed its doors back in May. Lewenza said the union and Chrysler shouldn't have to do this and it will continue its fight to get the federal government to strengthen the existing labour laws that would protect workers in the case of sudden closure.

Ken Lewenza
Chair CAW Chrysler Council

       "It's pretty simple, when workers legislatively are entitled to notice then they should be guaranteed it. When they are entitled to severance pay then they should be guaranteed it and if an employer goes bankrupt the workers should be at the top of the list and not at the bottom of the list. So they have to change the legislative requirements."
       The Plastech workers each received cheques for approximately $1,500. Earlier Chrysler had paid them part of the severance pay that Plastech walked away from. Jeff Powell, president of CAW Local 1769 and Plastech workers praised the union for its efforts and blamed the federal government for letting them down.

Jeff Powell
CAW Local 1769 President

       "If it wasn't for our union's bargaining power with Chrysler and the position that we are in, we would not have been able to get the employees anything. And at the end of the day we are still out eight to 10 weeks in lieu of notice that our members were owed rightly."
Donna Orum
12 year Plastech worker

       "I think our union did the best that they could with what they had to work with."

John Hurst
15 year Plastech worker

       "We're supposed to be notified 12 weeks before the plant closure. We were only given a two-week notice before the plant closure and since it is the government's legislation I believe the government should kick in the last ten weeks of the lieu pay because it is their legislation."
       Lewenza issued a challenge to all the Plastech workers and Canadians across the country to mount a campaign to force the government to protect jobs and workers in Canada.

Ken Lewenza
Chair CAW Chrysler Council

       "Call your MP. Ask him to defend the interests of Canadians, ask him to defend your family, defend your community. Because it has got to all start with political action. Because if Canadians as a whole don't come together collectively on protecting the interests of our country, then you are going to have more adjustment centers, you're going to have more job loss, there is going to be less hope and weakened expectations."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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