CAW Auto Crisis Education Tour

November 28, 2008

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CAW Auto Crisis Education Tour
CAW Auto Crisis Education Tour
dated November 28, 2008

Toronto, Ontario
November 28, 2008

       The Canadian Auto Workers union is arming its membership with knowledge and information to fight back in the current auto crisis.
       Work place leadership from across the auto sector, received in-depth political, economic and pension information, dispelling the false information in the media regarding the auto crisis, at meetings in Windsor, London and Toronto in last week of November.

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "It's about engaging our members with knowledge, with information, with facts. We've given you the tools to do what you do best and that is defending our members to the highest degree that you possibly can. Our members deserve it folks. They deserve every ounce of our energy. Our community deserves every ounce of our passion. Our country deserves every, every second of our inspirational objectives that helps all Canadians."

       Lewenza urged the leadership to mobilize the members in the work place to become politically active at all levels from talking with neighbours to petitioning Parliament.

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "Today we need, more than ever, to build that arm of solidarity and respect for others, even outside of the labour movement because everybody is losing in this incredible financial global crisis and if we stay focused on what caused this problem we will succeed."

       CAW Economist Jim Stanford provided detailed information about the economic crisis and the root causes of the auto crisis in particular, and how best to deal with it.

Jim Stanford
CAW Economist

       "There has to be some kind of package that gets credit flowing to the industry to allow them to survive this and to allow them to make the investments that they need. Canada has to indicate that it is willing to contribute proportionately. We're about one tenth of the industry on a North American basis, we should be prepared to do about one tenth of the work for it to happen in return for a proportional share of investment and the jobs."

       Municipal, provincial and federal politicians including Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis stressed the need for immediate action by the government.

Eddie Francis
Windsor Mayor

       "It is not about the survivability of the Big Three but about the survivability of our communities and our cities.
       When you talk about surviving and supporting the automotive industry it is an investment in communities. It is an investment in creating all those other jobs. If we don't do it and if our governments and all of us don't come together to find a way to ensure that our communities survive then ask yourself what kind of community you will be living in?"

       Lewenza called on the federal government to follow the example of the United States in helping the tens of thousands of unemployed workers.

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "They adopted new legislation that gave people better protection on employment insurance. They gave workers a longer time to collect it.
       In Canada today, in the House of Commons, based on the crisis today, let's help the banks, yes let's help the auto industry but let's also deal with those that are disenfranchised as a result of the economy and lost their jobs. Let's eliminate the waiting period for this period. And let's extend the E.I. benefits to make sure that workers don't fall through the cracks."

       The leadership was also given a detailed breakdown by Sym Gill, CAW director of pensions and benefits, of the potential threats to the existing pension plans and how a company failure would impact CAW retirees.

Sym Gill
Dir. CAW Pensions & Benefits

       "The court in Canada is not permitted to amend the collective agreement or the pension plan or any other contract between the parties without the union's explicit consent. So we are there at the table. We involved and we're dealing with it and it's not up to some court or some judge as it has been in the States.
       A couple of years ago the province of Ontario established a commission to look at the future of the defined benefit plans in Ontario. And that commission just reported, released its report late last week. And one of the recommendations in that report was to not only continue the Pension Guarantee Fund but to increase the benefit level that's protected from $1,000 a month to $2,500 a month."

       The leadership is now working directly with their members to get the information out.

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.

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