CAW Fights Closing of GM Truck Plant in Oshawa
June 4, 2008
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CAW Local 222 President
"I'm not pulling it down because General Motors gave me a commitment on future product two and a half weeks ago in negotiations and they took it away yesterday. So, you know what, if they are serious about working with us on this then they can wait another day and a half to get their building back."
June 2, 2008
On June 2nd, General Motors announced they would close the Oshawa truck plant in September of 2009, throwing 2,600 CAW members out of work. The announcement was meet with immediate anger throughout the union. CAW President Buzz Hargrove vowed at a press conference to make GM reverse its decision.
"This decision is unfair. It is unjust. It is unwarranted. It is illegal. It violates our collective agreement and we are going to do everything in our power. And we have power. And we are going to use every bit of it with General Motors, and we will select our target. But this is not going to happen without a fight, our plant will not cease production in the third quarter of 2009."
June 3, 2008
The workers at the GM plant were shocked at the company's announcement.
25 yrs CAW Local 222
"I don't know. I have been thinking about it all day. And it is a very low, low morale in that place today so I don't know what it is going to do to me."
25 years CAW Local 222
"I'm not feeling good. Devastated!"
22 years CAW Local 222
"That's the word. Devastation is the correct term. Because for us we have been looking forward to turning around, trying to get something here in our plant to try and keep going and trying to provide some job security for our younger members."
23 years CAW Local 222
"I actually was surprised. I was kind of hoping for good news and then we hear this so no I was surprised, especially after we ratified this agreement a couple of weeks ago. There was no indication that there was anything like this coming down the pipe."
Buckley summed up the feelings of his members.
CAW Local 222 President
"Our members in the City of Oshawa have proven for decades that if General Motors gives them the opportunity, they can build the best cars and trucks in the industry. We have all the trophies on the shelf to prove that. For General Motors to commit in writing that they were going to commit to product in our facilities, we are going to do everything we can to make them live up to that."
Hargrove criticized not only General Motors but also the federal government for failing to protect workers and jobs in Canada.
"I got a call from Mr. Prentice last night that didn't make me very happy. He just said this is beyond every one's control and I told him that's bull shit, The Canadian government has an obligation to step in here.
...And I said a simple statement by you Mr. Minister that says to General Motors we're not going to allow you to sell vehicles that are built in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Italy, where ever if you don't keep that truck plant open. The principles of the Auto Pact should guide the government in their decision making with General Motors."
Hargrove said General Motors had bargained in bad faith when they committed to new a product for Oshawa and then reneged.
"The people who cleared the language and agreed for them to sign it in Detroit had to have known this. This didn't happen in two weeks. If this decision was made within two weeks, by senior executives, then they all should be forced to resign."
Meanwhile the workers are continuing to build trucks in Oshawa as the union presses on to get General Motors to reverse its decision.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."