CAW Leadership and Members Urged To Take on the Challenge
June 10, 2008
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"As we head into what inevitably will be an election federally, our message has to be that the Harper government has to go. We're not going to accept as a union and I do not believe the Canadian people will accept his corporate vision for the future of our country. And part of that campaign is fighting for manufacturing jobs, fighting to save our jobs in every sector, fighting for our families, and fighting for our communities. We must ensure as we go to the polls that our objective is to defeat the Harper/Flaherty Government and every vote cast by a CAW member and their families must be dedicated to change the government. When we go to the polls our objective must be to defeat the Harper government."
Since Harper was elected Canada has lost over 200,000 manufacturing jobs. Hargrove said the union has to develop new strategies in dealing with politics.
"We need new ways of conducting our political work. We have to continue, not as an arm of a political party, but as an independent labour-oriented left organization that demands workers' rights be respected and defended, and improved upon, no matter who is in power in Ottawa, or in any of the legislatures across the country.
We have to think outside the box and it is not easy. It is challenging, but every place I look, there are ideas that we can use that are non-traditional. Of course, we will continue to use traditional ideas where they work the best. When we are challenged we will fight back. And I don't think there is any greater example of that than the Local 222 leadership and activists when they immediately responded by blockading the General Motors Canadian headquarters."
Hargrove condemned General Motors' decision to close the Oshawa truck plant two weeks after signing a three year contract promising new product for the plant.
"This is the first time in the history of our bargaining relationship with an employer that I can recall where they walked away from the bargaining table and two weeks later said;" Yes, we made the commitment. Yes it is in writing. Yes, it's real, but we're changing it. We're not going to live up to it." That's never happened before and as I said publicly several times to the media and anyone else who would listen, it undermines the whole concept of collective bargaining."
June 3, 2008
Hargrove said the entire labour movement owes a debt of gratitude for the CAW's fight to save not only the Oshawa truck plant but the integrity of collective bargaining. Hargrove also outlined the union's continuing fight for national childcare, card check certification and a myriad of other labour and social justice issues. He also sent a message to the corporate and the political world regarding the pending changes within the CAW.
"And I want to say as strongly as I can how confident I feel leading our union today. That although there's going to be there's going to be new leadership at the top of the House in Quebec as well as English Canada, a lot of new staff people, and a lot of new local union leaders, the world should understand that we are not changing our direction. Our direction is social unionism and we'll continue to practice that throughout our union, throughout our country, and around the world."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."