TORONTO, May 26, 2011 /CNW/ - Management at locomotive manufacturer
Electro-Motive in London, Ontario have sent a clear and aggressive
message to 650 unionized plant workers that they will be locked out and
their jobs put in jeopardy if they do not submit to massive workplace
concessions, a belligerent move that threatens to destabilize contract
talks, says CAW President Ken Lewenza.
Responding to a May 24 company letter sent to area politicians, Lewenza
said the company's harsh tactics, including the hiring of a private
security firm, erecting a fence around the property and removing
locomotives from the facility are blatantly aggressive and border on
bad faith bargaining. These steps were taken even before major contract
issues, like wages, were discussed between the two parties.
In a follow-up letter sent to company Vice President Walter Hannan
earlier today, Lewenza called these unprecedented actions "absolutely
unnecessary," and considered this bullying of workers into a lock-out
"These actions go well beyond traditional bargaining tactics. They are
trying to scare our members and, by extension, the larger London
community. Saying that 'it's our way or the highway' is totally unfair
and we won't stand for it," Lewenza said.
CAW Local 27 President Tim Carrie said the union has been mandated by
the members at Electro-Motive to negotiate a fair and responsible
"We have committed to not exercise our legal right to strike and are, in
fact, prepared to work beyond the contract expiry date to get this deal
Earlier this morning, the company tabled a series of demands that would
significantly hack workers wages, pensions and benefits. The union
asserts this move is intended to drag down working conditions at or
below those in a non-unionized U.S. facility in Indiana.
Electro-Motive is a subsidiary of Caterpiller Inc, a hugely profitable
industrial equipment manufacturer (registering an overall operating
profit of nearly $4 billion in 2010) that has earned a notorious
reputation for confrontational-style labour relations. CAW Local 27
represents 650 production and skilled trades workers at the London
The current collective agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on
Wednesday June 1.
SOURCE Canadian Auto Workers
For further information:
Tim Carrie, CAW Local 27 President 519-318-1022 or Angelo DiCaro, CAW Communications, 416-606-6311