Ajax Trim Plant Closes After 50 Years

Ajax, Ontario

December 22, 2003


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Ajax Trim Plant Closes After 50 Years
Ajax Trim Plant Closes After 50 Years
dated December 22, 200

Ajax, Ontario
December 19, 2003
       The final truck load stands at the loading dock. The few remaining seats covers are packed into the cartons, while on the dock stacked carton lids await loading. The sewing machines stand idle. The shop floor empty of workers as the last of the Big Three trim plants in North America ends 50 years of production. At its peak the Daimler Chrysler Ajax trim plant employed 2,200 workers. At the end only 220. CAW Local 1090 president John Gatens said, the union negotiated the best severance package in its history, which gave production workers up to $60,000 in severance and skilled trades $100,000.

John Gatens
Pres. CAW Local 1090

       "They would have closed this plant I believe earlier than that but we managed to get them to stay until this day, this month to allow people the opportunity to achieve the 28.1 grow ins. That was very important for us. So, again, to the very last minute we did everything we possibly could to maintain a meaningful work force in the plant on this date."

       On the last day, December 19th, the expected sadness associated with a plant closing was far from evident as hundreds of current and former workers gathered for the last day at the plant. Sylvia Weathers, Mirjana Barich and Adrian Van Hemmen, like most of the Ajax workers are retiring with good memories.

Sylvia Weathers
CAW Local 1090

       "I've seen my kids achieve their goals at university and all this became possible because of Chrysler and the CAW."


Mirjana Barich
CAW Local 1090

       "Every day I thank God to give me my health and to be here. I appreciate every penny I earned because I raised my kids, and I love the people in Chrysler."

Adrian Van Hemmen
CAW Local 1090

       "I'm okay with it. I've accepted it. I'm at the age now where I can actually accept going on pension and I have got a few things planned."

       The workers turned the last day into a celebration of their 50 years of accomplishments, instead of a wake for the closing of the plant. Gatens summed up the feelings of the hundreds attending the last day.

John Gatens
Pres. CAW Local 1090

       "I am sad and proud to have been a part of it for most of my life. As you can see around about you, they are celebrating. They are celebrating the good times and reminiscing and re-acquainting themselves with old friends and families. Wonderful day, wonderful life we have all enjoyed here and I am happy to see all of my colleagues and my friends and basically my family. I am sad that it is closing but boy what a ride it has been."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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