Lewenza Elected CAW President As Hargrove Steps Down

September 6, 2008


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Lewenza Elected CAW President As Hargrove Steps Down
Lewenza Elected CAW President As Hargrove Steps Down
dated September 6, 2008

Toronto, Ontario
September 6, 2008

       For the third time since its founding in 1985, the Canadian Auto Workers union has elected a new president at a special convention in Toronto September 6, 2008.

Buzz Hargrove
Retiring CAW President

       "Are there any further nominations for national president? Seeing no one at the mikes or heading towards the mike I declare nominations closed and I ask brother Lewenza whether he will stand for national president?"


Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "Of course I will stand for nomination for national president of the best union in Canada, the Canadian Auto Workers. And Local 444 I respectively accept your nomination. Thank you very much."


       Over the past 36 years, 54 year old Lewenza has moved up through the ranks of the union. He has a track record of fighting for workers and social justice as president of CAW Local 444 in Windsor and the president of the CAW Council.

Bob White
Former CAW President

       "Your duties are defined in the laws of the National Automobile, Aerospace, transportation and General Workers Union of Canada (CAW Canada) and your obligation should any emergency arise that is not provided for in these you are expected to act according to the dictates of common sense guided by an earnest desire to advance the best interests of the national union. I trust you will faithfully perform your duties so that you will gain not only the esteem of your brothers and sister but what is of even more importance the approval of your conscience. You will now assume your office. Congratulations brother."


       Taking over as the national president of the CAW Lewenza stressed that the 70 per cent of workers in Canada are unorganized and that is a great potential for the union to tap into.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "Our commitment today, as the CAW, is to reinforce our position on organizing. Reinforce our commitment to bring in new member. New members that will bring that rich diversity into our union and make us stronger into the future."


       Lewenza pledged to continue the fight for "fair trade" policies.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "What we need in Canada is a Made In Canada industrial policy, a manufacturing policy that preserves jobs where we don't have to go to the government. Where we don't have to go to the government and beg on our knees to protect the interests of our members and the communities in which we live."


       On the eve of a federal election, Lewenza warned the delegates, the rank-and-file members and the people of Canada not to be fooled as to who Prime Minister Harper really is.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "It's the Stephen Harper that comes from the Reform Party. It's the Stephen Harper that comes from the National Citizens Coalition. It's the Stephen Harper that would like to destroy rights of the labour movement to organize the rights of the labour movement to mobilize and the rights of the m\labour movement to free collective bargaining. That's the Stephen Harper that is out there in the real sense and we have got to stop him in his tracks."


       Earlier, in his farewell address, retiring CAW President Buzz Hargrove condemned Harper for trying to buy auto workers votes.

Buzz Hargrove
Retiring CAW President

       "This is a government that we have been meeting with for three years that said time after time, not only to us personally but in public, "that we will not support any industry. That we're not going to put any money into an auto plant. We're not going to pick winners and losers. Yet four or five days before an election call they find over 300 million dollars; not to help the industry, they don't give a damn about the industry, not to help the workers and families and communities, they don't give a damn about them. They are doing it to try and convince people that they are good people. And they want to buy the votes of the Canadian auto workers and we should send them a message today that this is what we think of their effort to try and bamboozle us into voting for them."


       Both Lewenza and Hargrove urged all Canadians to vote strategically to ensure that the Harper Conservative's do not form a minority let alone a majority government.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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