Auto and Postal Workers Union Leaders Make Joint Call for Canadian-made Postal Vehicles

    WINDSOR, ON, May 8 /CNW/ - CAW President Ken Lewenza and CUPW President
Denis Lemelin, along with CAW Local 444 President Rick Laporte and CUPW
Windsor Local President John Vigneaux, made a joint call to Canada Post
Corporation to ensure the expected 4500-5500 new light vehicles purchased in
the coming years as part of the crown corporation's motorized fleet renewal
and expansion program are made in Canada, by union workers.
    Both union leaders said all publicly-funded government agencies and crown
corporations should have a clearly defined Buy Canadian policy for the
purchases they make, in an effort to maximize the economic benefit to
Canadians citizens. The pair said it's time the federal government stepped up
to preserve and create jobs that are supported through strong social programs
instead of destroying jobs through ever-freer international trade agreements.
    Lewenza and Lemelin issued the joint statement at a press conference held
earlier today at the CAW Local 200/444 union hall in Windsor, Ontario, a
community devastated by tens of thousands of manufacturing job losses in
recent years, in large part due to the struggling domestic auto assembly and
auto parts sectors.
    The joint statement between the two unions comes two months before the
Chrysler Minivan Plant in Windsor is scheduled to eliminate its third shift of
production, a move that will result in thousands of job cuts for workers at
the plant directly and in supplier facilities throughout the region.
    A full text of the joint statement is available below.

                          CAW/CUPW Joint Statement:
                        Canada Post Must Buy-Canadian
                                (May 8, 2009)

    The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Auto Workers
union (CAW) believe Canada Post - a well recognized, crown corporation - has a
responsibility to purchase Canadian-made products when spending public funds.
    The plan to purchase between 4500 and 5500 new light vehicles in the
coming years, as part of the plan to further motorize letter carrier
operations, provides the perfect opportunity for Canada Post to show
leadership during a time of economic crisis by ensuring these vehicles are
made in Canada.
    Hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been eliminated in past
years, including tens of thousands in Canada's auto industry. These jobs
provided well-paid, stable employment for Canadians and helped build
economically vibrant communities throughout the country.
    The loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs has had a ripple effect on
other sectors of the economy as well, particularly in the public sector. Fewer
jobs means fewer tax dollars, and that puts increased pressure on the quality
of services workers provide.
    Any opportunity to ensure tax dollars are circulated back into the
Canadian economy must be taken. This is a critical step in the promotion of
meaningful and sustained economic development.
    The Chrysler Town & Country minivan is one of the vehicles Canada Post
Corporation is testing to fill the order of light vehicles. This high quality
and award-winning vehicle is proudly assembled by CAW members in Windsor,
Ontario. The Chrysler minivan assembly plant is experiencing a slowdown on
production levels due to the softening of the auto market, putting hundreds of
jobs at risk.
    Most countries mandate government agencies and publicly-run corporations
to purchase goods and services from domestic suppliers. Domestic purchasing
decisions are smart economic policies used internationally, and fully
acceptable under the terms and conditions of major trade agreements, including
the NAFTA and WTO.
    By committing to purchase a Canadian-made vehicle, Canada Post
Corporation will ensure that the public dollars used to purchase the vehicles
will be circulated back into the Canadian economy. Committing to buy
Canadian-made vehicles also recognizes the importance of spending public funds
in a way that maximizes the economic benefit to all Canadians.
    Government, as well as government agencies and crown corporations, must
act responsibly and do all that is necessary and in their power to protect
working families and communities in these difficult times.
    We are encouraging Canada Post Corporation to not squander this historic
opportunity to protect the jobs of Canadian workers and the livelihoods of
their families by re-investing in our communities.

For further information:

For further information: Richard McGrath, CUPW Communications, (613)
222-3952; or John McClyment, CAW Communications (416) 315-3202

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