GM Missed Opportunity

St. Catharines, Ontario

March 28, 2002

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GM Missed Opportunity
GM Missed Opportunity
dated March 28, 2002

St. Catharines
March 26, 2002
       General Motors is missing a golden opportunity by deciding to reduce production at their St. Catharines operations'. Canadian Auto Workers economist, Jim Stanford, says the numbers show the engine and components plants are some of the most profitable in GM.

Jim Stanford
CAW Economist

       "Despite the economic pressures they face as a company, GM is missing a golden opportunity here in St. Catharines with their decision to gradually run down that plant. In a way, they are looking a gift horse in the mouth when they reduce their operations and employment here in Saint Catharines." 

       Stanford pointed to the productivity gains, the fact that GM saves one hundred million dollars a year in wages and benefits in St. Catharines compared to its US plants and by increasing production in Canada, GM would save even more.
       CAW National President, Buzz Hargrove, says it's time the Canadian government fought back to protect Canadian workers the way the US protects its workers.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "They're part of the WTO. They're part of NAFTA and the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement. They are part of all three of those and yet they just imposed 29 percent tariffs on softwood lumber going from our market into theirs. So if the Americans can do it to us pretty regular, and we can do it to their tomatoes, surely in an important industry like the auto industry, we can come to grips with a policy that says, "We're going to take the steps that protect Canadian investment, Canadian jobs in this important industry." That's what we need."

       The Ontario government needs to get on side as well, according to Hargrove.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "And I say to Ernie Eves, as the new premier of this province, tax cuts won't do it, Ernie. Tax cats won't do it, you have to join us in demanding that the federal government take a position that " We are not going to allow people to come into our market and sell like Mitsubishi announced, without making a commitment to investment and jobs. And if they don't want to do that, we lock them out an let the people like General Motors who are committed to our country, let them have the market." What's wrong with that?"

       Debbie Zimmerman, representing Niagara Regional government echoed Hargrove's comment.

Debbie Zimmerman
Regional Municipality of Niagara

       "I agree with you, since 1995 we have lost jobs by tax cuts. That is not the way to do it. They need to be sustainable programs and we are prepared to work with you on those."

       The CAW is launching a campaign this spring to build public awareness and pressure on both levels of government to save Canada's auto industry.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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