CAW Joint Council Meets
December 12, 2000
Please note that you will need a copy of RealPlayer installed on your computer in order to view the following video file(s).
CAW Joint Council Meets
dated December 12, 2000
The thousand delegates attending the CAW Joint Council Meeting in Toronto were urged by their president Buzz Hargrove to help rebuild the political movement of the left in Canada. Hargrove said he has asked Federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough to set up a task force to rebuild the party.
CAW National President.
"I believe its time for a name change. The New Democratic Party was formed out of the coming together of the CCF and the labour movement in 1961. We're no longer "new". We're no longer defining ourselves as to who we are with Canadians. I believe if we take the time, have a good open constructive debate and accept that there are going to be some criticisms by some in our party as to where we are at, and that there are going to be some ideas that some people may not like. But, boy you don't build a political party by keeping out ideas or squashing dissent and making sure no one can challenge the direction or the leadership of the party."
"So earlier this week I sent a letter to our leader, Alexa McDonough, calling on her to open up the process, to set up a task force of prominent new Democrats, people who are respected within our party, with a balanced point, amongst the Task Force participants."
"And for them to go across the country and enlist the people of Canada, and especially the party and the labour movement in what could be the rebirth of the democratic socialist left party in this country."
Joe Comartin, MP for Windsor St Clair, the only NDP member elected in Ontario, assured the delegates he supports the need for a review of the party and its role in the future.
In his report to the Council, Hargrove said the auto industry is going through a down turn partially because of the success of the workers in doing their jobs.
CAW National President.
"I guess one could say when it comes to Daimler Chrysler, given our efforts on the model launch, the quality, the productivity, the cost in our plants, the success is our problem. We are too successful. We are producing too many vehicles. We are getting the models out too quick and we haven't adjusted them for the fact that we are building too many, that our market is getting crowded. There's a lot of new players from South Korea, from Japan that are taking an increasing share of the U.S. market. The Mexicans are producing a lot more vehicles and shipping them from the south to the north. For the first time ever massive increases of vehicles being shipped in from Mexico. So at the same time that we have a very successful booming market in North America, almost 20 million vehicles again this year. A record by any analysis, we find ourselves with too much inventory. Too many players in the field, but the auto industry, the Big Three, have added shifts. They have worked excessive over time in some plants, including in Canada, six and seven day work weeks, work paid holiday. And somebody took their eye off the ball. We have a booming market and we have a glut in inventory, which is going to create some down time. Not just at Daimler Chrysler, but at Ford and at General Motors as well."
Meanwhile the plight of CAW members who are fighting for their collective rights continues. Hargrove urged all the delegates to show their support for the striking members everywhere and particularly in Sudbury where 1,200 CAW members are on strike against Falconbridge.
CAW national President
"I want to commit on your behalf, to Rolly Gauthier and the leadership of Local 598 , and our members who have been on the picket lines going into their fifth month that we will double our efforts to raise additional funds from our members. And I want to send a message to Falconbridge mine; and their major owner, Noranda Mine, that we will last one day longer. And when they come to the bargaining table finally wanting an agreement we may well do what Dennis McDermott did to DeHaviland back in the 70's when they came and said they would like to settle now after a long strike, Dennis said we're not quite ready yet, we're not quite ready yet. So I want to send a message to Falconbridge that we will not allow our members to be starved out. We will win the strike in Sudbury."
Pres. CAW Local 598
"I want to thank the National for their support to this extent, to the whole executive. I know you have been talking about our strike. "
During the Council Hargrove announced that the first person to receive the CAW Nelson Mandela Human Rights Award would be the leader of the democratic movement in Burma.
CAW National President
"The award will be going to Aung San Suu Kyi, an incredibly courageous woman in the struggle for human rights in her country."
The Nobel Prize winner who is under house arrest in Burma by the military dictatorship in that country, spoke to the council via video tape.
Aung San Suu Kyi
"The I. L. O. has no longer been able to ignore forced labour. It is a terrible burning issue in our country. We would like not just the auto workers of Canada but all the workers of Canada to be aware of the lack of basic rights for the people of Burma".
The exiled Prime Minister of Burma, Dr. Sein Win, accepted the award on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi . The original award sculpture, commissioned by the CAW will remain on display at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin.
Also honoured during the Council was retired CAW economist Sam Gindin. In the presence of his family and friends the CAW presented a one million-dollar check to the Ryerson University for the creation of the Sam Gindin Chair for studies in Social Justice. The university in turn announced they would match the amount to bring the endowment to Two Million dollars.
The CAW Millennium project, a photo essay of "Canadians At Work" was unveiled at the Council.
CAW national President
"If you look at this wonderful book of pictures, just think for a moment. It took 18 months to take the photographs, Twenty thousand photographs were taken in work places of CAW members across the country. I'm told by Vince and other photographers that a project of this size would take double that time. Because of Vince's love for his work and his love for the kind of union you are, that you have here, he put an incredible effort into the book. And I think the video shows that and the book once you've had a chance to look at it and savoir it, I believe you will come to the same conclusion that I did."
"A book is like a friend, like a good friend but more than that a book lives on forever because a book is passed on from one generation to the next.. I am honoured, indeed I am humbled to stand before you today and to tell you about the CAW's Millennium Project. "Canadians at Work". This book not only honours CAW members from coast to coast but it symbolically gives face to all Canadian workers."
"The basic idea of the book was that I would photograph people on the line, on the shop floor, whatever the workplace was. A comprehensive book like this has rarely been done in the history of photography itself and in fact, never before in Canada. For that reason alone I think that it is of particularly bold move on the part of the CAW to have taken on this historic project."
"The book is about a landscape of work places and a landscape of workers faces that reflect the pain and pride of making a living. Every thing else in society stems from that base., the base of making a living. And as a photographer-artist I believe that there is no more infinite landscape than the human face. The CAW is by far the best organization for taking on this kind of project. Your union covers virtually every economic activity in the country, in every province and territory. It is intensely diverse in terms of gender, age and ethnic origin. The membership of the CAW itself in it's entirety, reflects the population of Canada as a whole."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."