Flexibility And Government Investment Key To Auto Sector Future

December 4, 2004

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Flexibility And Government Investment Key To Auto Sector Future
Flexibility And Government Investment Key To Auto Sector Future
dated December 1, 2004

       The auto industry in Canada is the motor that drives the country's economy but that may change unless the government gets more involved according to Canadian Auto Workers Union national president Buzz Hargrove.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We've lost most of our labour cost advantage because of the rise in the Canadian dollar, some 35 % in the past few months alone, so it is going to be even tougher as we look to the future. All it means is we have to work a lot harder to make sure that everybody understands the significance of the industry and how you make it grow."

Brampton, Ontario
       After years of delay, the federal and the Ontario provincial governments have gotten involved with hundreds of millions in incentives, resulting in the Ford flex manufacturing plant in Oakville and the retooling of the DaimlerChrysler plant in Brampton. CAW Local 1285 president Vince Bailey said the third shift and its 1,000 new jobs in Brampton is proof that helping the auto sector is a good investment.

Vince Bailey
Pres CAW Local 1285

       "The fact that now the government is putting money into it, you can see the results of it, because now we are getting jobs and we are reaping the benefits of it."

Oakville, Ontario
       In 2002, Ford workers in Oakville were devastated by the closing of the truck plant. Government funding helped Ford commit to building a one billion dollar flex manufacturing facility in that community. CAW Local 707 President Gary Beck says it has brought hope back to the workers at the Ford mini-van plant.

Gary Beck
Pres CAW Local 707

       "I think the job security is going to be long based. I don't think they're going to invest this type of money for a short term. I think this is the way that auto industry is going to go now. They're going to look at having a plant that can build three or four different vehicles."

       The political scene has changed in Ontario and Ottawa and Hargrove feels it is for the better.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "In terms of both levels of government today we have a much different mood. There are different people; there are different parties in power. The Liberals took over Ontario, there's a minority government in Ottawa. There's more sense of urgency in dealing with what are considered the winners in Canada , like the auto industry and I'm very pleased with the meeting that we have had with David Emerson and his people federally. They recognize and understand the industry. They are working on an auto policy.

       Meanwhile the CAW is continuing its lobbying efforts at both levels of governments.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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