CAW Aradco - Aramco Fight For Severance

Windsor, Ontario

March 16, 2009


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CAW Aradco - Aramco Fight For Severance
CAW Aradco - Aramco Fight For Severance
dated March 16-18, 2009


Windsor, Ontario
March 16-18, 2009

       It took four days of blockade and a plant occupation but the Canadian Auto Workers Local 195 members who work at the auto parts makers Aradco and Aramco in Windsor, Ontario, have unanimously ratified an agreement that will give them a portion of the severance, vacation pay and wages they are owed. The plant owners, Catalina Precision Products, a U.S. based company, is in a dispute with Chrysler. When Chrysler cancelled its contract, Catalina closed the plants without notice, leaving the workers with nothing. The workers blockaded both plants March 16th and then occupied the Aradco facility. CAW Local 195 President Gerry Farnham told the police the take over was justified and convinced them to stand down.

Gerry Farnham
President CAW Local 195

       "Some of the workers here have decided to take over the plant. That's the only thing they have in order to try and get the money that is owing to them. And if anybody wants to talk about breaking the law I'll continue to say it over and over again, Catalina broke the law because the money is owed to these workers, legally owed to these workers."

       As their co-workers and union activists from CAW locals in the Windsor- Essex area rallied in support outside, the workers inside were ready to hold onto their plant.

Mike Melo
Aramco Plant Chair

       "We're all strong. We're all united. We all want the same thing. We want what we deserve. You can't put in 12-13 years in a place and then all of sudden it closes and you are left with nothing. It's not right."
Joe Elsner
CAW local 195

       "Hopefully by what we are doing we'll start some changes, start the implementation of legislation doesn't allow a company to do this."

       At a rally outside the plant on March 18 CAW National President Ken Lewenza praised the workers for the fight back and demanded the Ontario government re-enact the Wage Earners Protection Act.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "I say to Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello today that have the power of cabinet positions; the reality is you can make a difference today in the province of Ontario by legislating that the needs of workers are protected. So we don't have to take over a plant; so we don't have to fight with employers; so we don't have to look at the police in the eye and think that they are our enemy. At the end of the day this is not the way to resolve issues. How you resolve issues is legislatively; and resolve it at the collective bargaining table."

       Lewenza also had a message for all employers in Canada.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "Don't underestimate the determination of the labour movement. Don't underestimate the determination of our membership. And this should be a signal to you today, that if you violate the rights and privileges that the workers earn in collective bargaining; and you violate the need to pay severance and those kind of legislative requirements that are enacted in law; and you run away from your responsibilities; that you can expect each and everyone that are here today plus an army more to be back."

       As the rally was winding down the news came that the union had reached a tentative agreement.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "We, on principle, just struck and agreement, not less than two or three minutes ago, that we have in writing that provides some support, not all the support, for the membership. But at the end of the day, where we started on Monday and where we are at today is ten times further than we ever where and what we'd ever get."

       Those who took over the plant were greeted to a hero's welcome.

Gerry Farnham
President CAW Local 195

       "The occupation is over with. We've got this resolved and behind us. Unfortunately it is a bit bitter sweet because of the fact that, you know, our members are out of work. But at the end of the day I'm very proud of our membership that they stood as strong as they did."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.


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