Issue #20 - October 16, 1996 - CAW Occupies Plant

Issue #20 - October 16, 1996 - CAW Occupies Plant

CAW president Buzz Hargrove received word on Wednesday morning that CAW Local 222 members had occupied the Oshawa Fabrication plant midway through a top level meeting with world-wide GM corporation president Jack Smith.

The workers had entered the north Oshawa fabrication plant to prevent the removal of 75 dies used to make car and truck parts. The master bargaining committee was inflamed when GM served the injunction application on the union late Tuesday to allow them unhindered access to the plants the same day that GM’s third quarter profits of $l.27 Billion were announced. The Oshawa committee began immediately to organize a response.

Hargrove told reporters following the meeting with Smith that GM had acknowleged there will be restrictions on its unilateral right to outsource and that GM is prepared to look at the Canadian operations separate from the North American operations. Hargrove said that the union recognized there was a difference between GM’s component operations in Canada and Chrysler’s, and would work to resolve legitimate problems.


With the unanimous support of the CAW/GM Master Bargaining Committee and to the cheers of workers occupying the plant, Hargrove announced GM had agreed to withdraw the injunction and none of the dies would leave the plant. In exchange, the CAW agreed to withdraw from the occupation at the plant. The occupation was over with the withdrawal of the injunction and the workers returned to the picket line.

Hundreds of supporters cheered the workers for taking a stand - the issue was job security; the dies were not going to leave.


Following the important meeting with Jack Smith, "we move back to the bargaining table determined to find a resolution and achieve an agreement by noon on Monday," said Hargrove. "We accept Mr. Smith’s word that GM will do the same."

"No one should underestimate how much hard bargaining has to go on -- there are so many tough issues at all levels but the log jam is broken.

Bargaining at the local and sub-committee level will get underway Thursday. Top level committee meetings will follow the special convention.

The CAW Special Convention will be the focus on Friday.

These events now mean more than ever that the entire union must come together to go on record in solidarity with the GM workers and their families by supporting a special dues assessment which will be needed should bargaining break down.

The convention’s overwhelming endorsement of the special assessment will not only support GM workers, but it will show corporations such as Ford and Air Canada that the CAW has the unity and resources to support the union’s collective bargaining program.

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