Martinrea threatens closure of Kitchener Frame, putting 800 out of work

    KITCHENER, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - Kitchener Frame, owned by Martinrea
International, announced it may be closing its doors in April 2009, putting
800 workers out of a job. Another 400 are currently on lay-off from the plant,
which produces automotive frames.
    CAW Local 1451 members who work in the office and the plant received the
devastating news yesterday at a membership meeting. The union is pressing
Martinrea to extend the life of the facility to secure employment for the
    CAW Local 1451 President Mike Devine tied the closure announcement to the
soaring Canadian dollar and unbalanced trade, both of which are making it
difficult to compete and easier for companies to pull the plug on their
Canadian operations.
    Last April, Devine had an impromptu meeting with Prime Minister Stephen
Harper at a local Royal Canadian Legion branch, where he and other CAW
activists were demonstrating outside. At the meeting, Harper suggested that
unemployed workers ought to look to Alberta to find employment. The
Kitchener-Waterloo region has lost more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs in the
last two years alone.
    "This government must come up with real solutions to address job loss and
the de-industrialization of our communities," said Devine. "People cannot be
expected to uproot their families and move to another province because the
Canadian government is sitting on its hands."
    The facility used to produce frames for three General Motors assembly
plants, but now only supplies one. Current products - the GMC Envoy and Trail
Blazer have not yet been replaced, according to Hemi Mitic, assistant to the
CAW president. "The government must develop an auto policy that includes not
only auto assembly, but also auto parts manufacturing so the industry can be
rebuilt," said Mitic.
    The plant opened in 1966 (under the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact) and employed
over 3,000 workers at its peak in 1979. Martinrea has operations in Canada,
the United States, Mexico and Europe.

For further information:

For further information: please contact CAW Local 1451 President Mike
Devine, (cell) (519) 573-7992 or CAW Assistant to the President Hemi Mitic,
(cell) (416) 565-3677

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