Union Negotiates Kitchener Frame to Stay Open Until 2010

    KITCHENER, ON, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Workers at Kitchener Frame, represented by
CAW Local 1451, have ratified a wind-down agreement that would see their plant
stay open until the summer of 2010. The vote was held at meetings for the
plant and office units on Sunday, with the agreement ratified by 80 per cent.
    Kitchener Frame owner Martinrea International Inc. had announced last
week that it would close the plant in April 2009, but the CAW negotiated an
agreement that which would see the plant stay open an additional 16 months.
Production will wind down to complete the contract for the Chevy Trailblazer
and GMC Envoy lines, for which the workers make the frames.
    "Kitchener Frame is on life-support right now - but this agreement also
offers more time to secure a new product that could keep the plant open," said
Mike Devine, president of CAW Local 1451.
    He added that the additional 16 months will give the 800 current workers
a better measure of job security. There are approximately 400 more workers
currently on lay-off from the plant.
    The Kitchener-Waterloo area has lost more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs,
according to Statistics Canada. "This closure will be a terrible blow to the
community, which will lose what was once the area's largest industrial
employer," said Devine. "The federal government can no longer ignore the
gravity of this problem."
    Martinrea bought the plant from the German firm ThyssenKrupp in 2006. The
company cited the high Canadian dollar, which unregulated by the government,
has increased over 60 per cent in four years.

For further information:

For further information: CAW Local 1451 President, Mike Devine, (cell)
(519) 573-7992; or CAW National Representative, Jim Woods, (cell) (519)

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