CAW Welcomes FSSA Aluminum Workers

Wiarton, Ontario

May 17, 2004

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CAW Welcomes FSSA Aluminum Workers
CAW Welcomes FSSA Aluminum Workers
dated May 17, 2004

Wiarton, Ontario
May 9, 2004

       The welcome mat was out at the Wiarton airport, as three Dash 8 Air Canada planes landed at this small air facility outside of Owen Sound. The work place leaders from the FSSA, which merged with the CAW last November, were taken by bus to the CAW Family Education Centre less than an hour away in Port Elgin.
       In welcoming the leaders CAW national secretary treasurer Jim O'Neil said the addition of the 4,600 aluminum and magnesium workers to the CAW is very significant.

Jim O'Neil
CAW National Sec. Treasurer

       "This merger with the FSSA is so important to our union and to our members in Quebec. It really brings a different flavour again to our union. Our membership in Quebec has been shrinking obviously with the closing of the Ste. Therese GM plant and the other closures, but here we have 5,000 new members who make a major difference to Quebec."

Port Elgin, Ontario
May 10, 2004

       For the next five days the FSSA workers were given an insight into how the CAW operates and the methods that will be used during the merger of FSSA into the CAW. Luc Desnoyers, CAW Quebec Director says the FSSA members now make up 25 per cent of CAW's membership in Quebec.

Luc Desnoyers
CAW Quebec Director

       "It's an important community down there, an important group of workers, a very progressive one and it will help us to continue to be the union we are, fighting back makes the difference, no doubt about that, and that is the reason why we are so similar."

       CAW National President Buzz Hargrove urged the FSSA leaders to encourage their members to get involved in the trainings opportunities within the CAW.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We spend more money as the CAW then the Canadian labour Congress, the CNTU , the FTQ, the steelworkers, all of the other unions put together, we spend more money as a union than all of them combined on education and training for our members, our activists, our rank and file people and their families. We have a very broad view of education and training and what it means to workers. And part of it, a very important part of it is this center. We refer to the center as the heart of our union."

       The merger of the FSSA into the CAW, Hargrove said, is the start of a renewed organizing drive by the CAW within Quebec.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "This is the largest group that we have ever brought into the union in Quebec, and it is the northern region of Quebec where traditionally we have not had a membership and bringing the leadership and activists here to get a sense of who we are, that we are not just some other union, that we really are committed to the development of individuals, individual work place leaders, individual local union leaders and community leaders, I believe that will stand us in good stead long term as people begin to understand who we are and how important we view their role in the union."

       Throughout the week of orientation training various CAW department heads gave overviews of how their departments worked to serve the workers and fielded questions from the floor. CAW Fighting Back makes A difference.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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