Buzz Hargrove Letter to Brad Clark, Minister of Labour, July 4, 2002

Buzz Hargrove Letter to Brad Clark, Minister of Labour, July 4, 2002

July 4, 2002

SENT BY FAX - 416-326-1449

Hon. Brad Clark
Minister of Labour
400 University Avenue, 14th Floor
Toronto, On M7A 1T7

Dear Minister,

I write to express my extreme frustration with your lack of action on the International Truck (Navistar) file. This is one of the most serious labour disputes that our union has been involved in, in over 20 years. The CAW, as the largest union in Ontario, has a long and successful record of resolving tough issues at the bargaining table.

The fact that Navistar, in spite of its $11 U.S. hourly cost advantage at the Chatham plant, is demanding that long service workers take pay cuts of $6 per hour, is absolutely unacceptable.

The fact that the company is taking advantage of your government's change to the Employment Standard's Act, allowing for scheduled hours of work in excess of Ontario's historic maximum scheduled 48 hour work week is despicable and flies in the face of even the intent, as defined by your government when this legislation was introduced. Your government's argument was that the changes to the Act were to benefit small business people and their workers, in allowing for some flexibility to jointly agree on different scheduled hours of work.

For a major international corporation to demand this increase in scheduled hours with over 1200 workers currently on layoff, surely must be of major concern to you as Minister of Labour and your government.

The fact that a young man, named Don Milner, with a wife and two young children ages one and three, lies in critical condition in a semi-coma state in a London hospital, after being purposely run over by a goon hired by Navistar, demands immediate attention by you as Minister of Labour.

I have talked to you personally at least twice and to your assistant at least twice in the last two weeks, urging you as Minister of Labour, to call the parties together to see if you can assist in finding a solution.

To date, all I hear is that you are encouraging both parties to get back to the bargaining table. I remind you that our union has asked the company, on several different occasions, to return to the bargaining table and as well we have asked you, as Minister of Labour, to convene a meeting of the parties. My initial call to you, if acted upon, may very well have avoided the horrible injuries suffered by Don Milner. As you are aware, the goons and thugs hired by Navistar to break this legal strike are still in Chatham at the plant, creating serious tensions on the picket line.

My question is, Minister, what is it going to take before you see the need to insist that the parties come together under the auspices of your office, in an effort to assist in finding a solution?

Your immediate action is required and would be appreciated.

Yours truly,

cc: Hon. Ernie Eves, Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, Leader of the Official Opposition, Howard Hampton, Leader Ontario NDP, Jim O'Neil, Assistants, National Executive Board, Ken Georgetti, Wayne Samuelson, CAW Local 127

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