Conditional Navistar Deal Ratified to Save Plant
May 15, 2003
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Conditional Navistar Deal Ratified To Save Plant
dated May 15, 2003
May 13, 2003
From the ashes of what seemed inevitable closure, the 900 workers at the International Navistar Truck plant in Chatham Ontario have a new hope. Over 90 percent of the members of CAW Local 127 and Local 35 voted in favour of a conditional agreement with the company to keep the plant in operation. The condition is the federal and provincial governments agree to an appropriate financial support package of $15 million a year for three years. CAW National President Buzz Hargrove told the members it's now up to the politicians.
CAW National President
"We must all talk to our members of parliament and say that we need your help. Now the union has done its job. The company has now done its job. It's saying it will stay in Chatham if the governments come to the table with an appropriate response to their request."
Hargrove warned the members not to ease up on the local politicians.
CAW National President
"Every one wants to take some credit. Local members are saying, "I've been involved in the background. I've done this. I've done that. Don't believe it for a second. Keep the pressure on. I have absolutely no quarrel, if the politicians want to take credit to keep this plant open let's give it to them. But part of that credit is that they damn well better come to the table."
Doug Deneau, chair of the bargaining committee said the 90 per cent endorsement by the members shows the workers are making the sacrifice to save their jobs.
"It sends a message to them too, that the Auto Pact is now gone and these companies are trying to rape the employees and that's got to stop. So we need to go after them and they have to come to the table here with the extra money because they made the laws that did this too us in the first place."
Bob Chernecki, assistant to the CAW national president said the financial aid being requested is a drop in the bucket, compared to what it will cost the government if the plant closes.
Assistant to CAW National President
"If you look at what the tax base alone would be with the loss of this plant is in the hundreds of millions; paying out U.I. at hundreds of millions of dollars to people who will be on the street after July 18th here. There's every single good reason in the world for them to step in. And if there was ever a reason this is it, to help save this community, because that is what it means. This is about the life or death of this community."
CAW members across Canada have been asked to contact their MPs demanding support for the Navistar workers and for new legislation to replace the Auto Pact.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."