ST-JEAN, QC, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Last Friday afternoon, the
350 members of the United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ) employed at
GDX learned that the company's two plants in Magog would be shutting their
doors. "We have been working very hard for months to block this closure. But
this summer, GM did not renew a contract that represented 2/3 of the
production at the plants. This, despite the American company's earlier promise
- when the Boisbriand plant shut down - that it would support auto industry
sub-contractors in Quebec," said Denis Trottier, spokesman for the United
Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ). "For their part, GDX has left the
employees out on their own. Despite these conditions, the workers continued to
execute their tasks in a professional manner," Trottier noted.
Gérard Séguin, President of union local 9395, added "We have been waiting
four months for an answer. It's been sheer torture. Nobody talked straight
with us. Given the context, it has been amazing to witness the attitude of our
members, who continued to meet their production targets. We have formed four
workforce adjustment committees over the past four years - that's just one
indication of the uncertain climate we've been living with. Meanwhile, GM have
acted as expected, with respect to Quebec."
The United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ) immediately launched
a process to put another workforce adjustment committee in place. The union
will also continue to hold a seat at the roundtable working to save the
company. "We haven't been sitting on our hands. We knew the business was in
trouble - we've had 1,400 members working in those factories. We were due to
complete a study on diversifying production and a trip to Germany had been
planned to identify new opportunities. The lack of transparency on the part of
companies places us in a position where we are dealing with a fait accompli.
But these are our jobs that are at stake. We are not giving up. We will do
whatever we can to try and reopen these plants," said union spokesman
The company belonged to Cerberus Capital Management, an American private
equity firm. After completing the purchase of the company from Cerberus, new
owner Wynnchurch Capital - another American private equity firm - announced it
would be closing both plants. "It's well and good for the company to claim
that they want to work more closely with the automobile industry. Not only
does the federal government favour Ontario, but the auto makers are in bed
with the provincial and municipal governments in Ontario. The GDX plant in
Welland has enjoyed generous subsidies. Meanwhile, we have the federal
government and American multinationals lined up against us. It's disgusting,"
The Quebec roundtable includes Investissement Québec, Emploi Québec, the
CLD for the MRC of Memprhemagog, the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ et the
United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ).
One of the plants that has been shut specialized in encapsulating glass,
while the other specialized in the production of seals. The business' main
clients were GM, Mercedes and BMW.
For further information:
For further information: Denis Trottier, Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ),
(514) 232-5286; Gérard Séguin, Syndicat des Métallos, Local 9395, (819)