Sterling Strike Mandate

London, Ontario

February 3, 2003


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Sterling Strike Mandate
Sterling Strike Mandate
dated February 4, 2003

February 2, 2003
London, Ontario


       The 11 hundred CAW members at the Sterling Freightliner Truck plant in St. Thomas have given their bargaining committee an overwhelming strike mandate. Bargaining committee chair Richard Laverty announced the outcome following the vote on Sunday February 2nd in London.

Richard Laverty
Sterling Bargaining Committee Chair

       "We counted and collect 682 votes. Of those 87 said no, 594 said yes, 3 spoiled ballots, that's an 88 per cent endorsement of this strike."

       Prior to the vote Laverty told the membership the bargaining committee needed the strike mandate in order to get the company to move on the final eight outstanding issues.

Richard Laverty
Sterling Bargaining Committee Chair

       "A strong strike mandate today reduces the chances of a strike. But if you send us back with a weak or a slight mandate it's going to make bargaining this agreement very difficult because they are going to know that we don't have the support and we are going to find ourselves walking backwards, and I didn't join this union to walk backwards and neither did you."

       The company, which had rolled wages back by 5 per cent has offered only 7 per cent over the next three years. Wages however are not the key issue according to Laverty

Richard Laverty
Sterling Bargaining Committee Chair

       "The three key issues have got to be this pension, this ten per cent co-pay that they are insistent that we are responsible for and time away from the job, which has been the three most recurring issues that this membership has asked us to bargain for.

       Bob Chernecki, assistant to CAW national president Buzz Hargrove, told the members they need to send a message to the company about their solidarity.

Bob Chernecki
Assistant to CAW National President

       "They are watching us closely, very closely and today is a test in their minds because they don't believe we have the membership's support here. Well I believe we do and this vote will show it."

       Armed with the 88 per cent strike mandate, Chernecki says the union is now in a position to get a good contract for the members.

Bob Chernecki
Assistant to CAW National President

       "The corporation has to recognize that the workers here are all done rolling back wages and rolling back benefits, and they have to get that through their heads. We now have a union here and people have had enough of rollbacks"

       As of the strike vote, no strike deadline had been set.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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