Smiths Falls Joins CAW Fight To Save Hershey Jobs
Smiths Falls, Ontario
February 24, 2007
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The people of Smiths Falls have joined forces with the Canadian Auto Workers union to save the jobs of 430 workers at the Hershey plant.
More than a thousand people from Smiths Falls and the surrounding area rallied in front of the Hershey Chocolate factory February 24th. demanding the company reverse its decision to close the 44 year old complex.
Smiths Falls Mayor Dennis Staples said this plant closing will affect the entire community.
Mayor Smiths Falls
"What I have heard from Hershey is that this is part of a business transformation decision about the bottom line of making money. Hershey has informed us verbally and I have picked this up through the media that it is not about the Smiths Falls plant and it is not about the Smiths Falls workers. Well it is about the Smiths Falls plant and it is about the Smiths Falls Workers, and your families and the visitors that come here and the farmers that produce the milk and the people that drive the trucks to get the milk here."
Federal, provincial and local municipal politicians along with organized labour promised to work together to keep the plant running. Barb Beyers, Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress joined with CAW area representative Harry Ghadban in demanding the federal government take immediate action.
Vice President CLC
"So the Canadian Labour Congress, our staff, our executive and workers all across this country join with you today in this struggle to keep the jobs here and to deliver a message to our federal government that we need an industrial strategy that works for working Canadians."
CAW Area Rep.
"We are here to tell our provincial and federal governments that we are facing a crisis in manufacturing. We have lost 20,000 jobs in food and beverage manufacturing in the last two years alone. This announcement by Hershey to close this plant is yet another example of the crisis that we are facing in manufacturing."
The time table for the closure remains shrouded in mystery and for the 430 workers at the plant the news has been mind numbing. Marlene Beaupre summed up the feelings of everyone there.
40 years at Hershey
"They are making a tragic mistake! And a lot of the plans that people have here now, are null and void and we're going to have to start all over. But what I would really like to see is a reversal of the decision that they have made."
CAW Unit chair Boyd Pryce said the workers are united in their determination to save their jobs and their community.
CAW Hershey Unit Chair
"We're not going to lay down without a fight. I really think we can keep this facility open."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."