Ontario Election 2007: After 100 years, Orillia company gives workers 20 minutes to clear out

    TORONTO, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' (USW) Ontario/Atlantic
Director Wayne Fraser said Tuesday that the recent closure of Otaco Seating
Co. Ltd. in Orillia is another reason to get rid of the McGuinty Liberal
Government and replace it with politicians who will be committed to saving
jobs in Ontario.
    "This government has allowed hundreds of thousands of jobs, and even
communities, to disappear over the last four years," said Fraser. "There
should be deterrent penalties against companies like Otaco, which gave 20
minutes notice to workers that their livelihood is gone and all production has
moved to the US. Beyond that, Otaco had reduced its workforce to the point
that, by current Ontario law, the company is no longer required to provide
even basic severance.
    "That means legislation is as much to blame as a runaway company that
thinks nothing of destroying people's lives - and at a moment's notice. We
need laws that protect workers from corporate thieves."
    Local candidates in next month's provincial election were invited to a
weekend membership meeting to discuss the Otaco closure. The only no-show was
Liberal candidate Laura Domsy.
    "It shows that the McGuinty Liberals have no interest even in their own
communities. Election time is a good time to make them accountable."
    Otaco has been owned by Michigan-based American Seating since 1985, and
before that had a foundry division at another site in Orillia. Some workers
terminated in this latest move had worked there for over 30 years. The Orillia
operation has been part of the community for over a century, producing
everything from farm equipment to parts for Second World War bombers and heavy
duty sleds for Arctic exploration.
    "This kind of history is not insignificant," said Fraser. "These people,
like so many in this province over the last four years, have been robbed of
their future, and denied their right to severance pay because of a loophole in
the Ontario Employment Standards Act. That has to change."

For further information:

For further information: Wayne Fraser, (416) 243-8792; (416) 577-4045;
John Chamelot (USW Representative) (705) 326-6681

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