CAW Continues Fight To Save GM Oshawa Truck Plant
June 8, 2008
Please note that you will need a copy of Windows Media Player installed on your computer in order to view the following video file(s).
Thousands of demonstrators have joined the 2,600 Canadian Auto Workers at the Oshawa General Motors truck plant in their fight to keep their plant open.
National labour leaders including Ken Georgetti of the Canadian Labour Congress; as well as Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP and Stéphane Dion , leader of the federal Liberal party joined CAW Local 222's blockade of GM's Canadian headquarters in Oshawa, which the union set up after the company announced the truck plant closing June 3rd.
Canadian Labour Congress President
"You have the support of the 3.2 million members that represent this congress. The fifty-four affiliates will be there with you."
CAW president Buzz Hargrove praised the leadership and activists at Local 222 for their determination and their fighting spirit.
"Keep up the struggle. You have the full support of the 260,000 CAW members from coast, to coast, to coast. We're going to fight. We're going to fight in any way we can to continue the battle to support the livelihoods of the 2,600 people that call the truck plant, building trucks their jobs."
June 7, 2008
On June 7th, the workers took their fight directly to the GM Oshawa car and truck plant complex. They staged a convoy of hundreds of cars which drove slowly around the manufacturing complex bringing to a halt the flow of auto parts into the plant. CAW GM plant chair Keith Osborne led the convoy.
Oshawa Plant Chair
"Well we had an nice little tour today and I would like to say that the car plant went down at 10:06 and the Truck plant went down at 10:18 and they have yet to start running."
CAW Local 222 president Chris Buckley said the blockade and convoy worked in getting GM top management to agree to meeting to with the union.
CAW Local 222 President
"This has never been about shutting down the plant. It's about our members going to work. Doing a good days work, building the best cars and trucks in the industry and the best auto parts."
The meeting with GM failed to get the company to reverse its decision to close the truck plant despite the fact they had committed in writing to build the new hybrid pick up truck at the Oshawa plant during the 2008 contract negotiations.
As part of the demonstration, the workers and their families enjoyed a family picnic in front of the GM Canada headquarters while listening to various speakers including CAW President Buzz Hargrove who condemned General Motors for reneging on the deal.
"I've never once walked away from the bargaining table and had somebody call me up and in two weeks and say: "we're not going to live up to what we signed in your collective agreement." Never before.
That is the most despicable act that anyone could do to the relationship with the workers in Oshawa."
Hargrove added that General Motors action threatens all collective bargaining.
"This is about credibility. It's about integrity brothers and sisters. General Motors doesn't have the right to do what they are doing here. They don't have the right. And we're going to keep the heat on."
As the picket lines remain up around the clock at the GM Canadian headquarters in Oshawa the national union is launching a campaign to force the government to uphold the sprit of the Auto Pact.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."