July 15, 2002


(TORONTO)----The tentative agreement reached between the Canadian Auto Workers union and truck maker Navistar International Corp. to end a six-week strike was ratified today by 81 percent at a meeting of the 600 CAW Local 127 membership in Chatham, Ontario. CAW president Buzz Hargrove together with the bargaining committee had recommended the agreement unanimously to the workers.

The company had earlier tabled 20 pages of concessionary demands but the new agreement does not contain concessions in the areas of wages, benefits, time off the job or hours of work.

The contract contains improvements in a number of areas including pensions and the bargaining committee was also able to secure a guarantee in writing that the company would not close the plant prior to June 1, 2003. The notice issued by the company this spring of "consideration for closure" will expire April 2003.

"This strike was unlike any other struggle our union has had in the last 50 years," said Hargrove. "A major multinational, U.S.-based corporation, International Truck, attempted to break a legal strike in a large assembly plant by bringing in scabs. With concessions demands that forced us out on strike, the corporation chose to taunt the workforce by hiring large numbers of goons and thugs to bring the buses of scabs through the picket line." Hargrove continued, "The entire union understood the importance of this struggle and at my request remained on alert to down tools at a moment's notice and head to Chatham."

Hargrove also said that the hearts of the CAW leadership and membership go out to CAW Local 444 member Don Milner and his young family. Milner was critically injured June 24 when a van driven by security guards hit six picketers. "I want to pledge to Brother Don Milner and his family that International Truck workers as well as our total union will stand solidly with them through this most difficult period. We must all commit ourselves to continue the fight to re-establish anti-scab legislation in the province of Ontario," Hargrove emphasized.

Doug Deneau, plant chairperson, on behalf of the Local 127 membership, said of Milner and his family, "you are in our thoughts and prayers". Deneau added that CAW members across Canada and especially south-west Ontario offer their unwavering support to this CAW member and his family in this time of great need.

Contact: Jane Armstrong, CAW Communications Dept., (416) 495-6548

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