VANCOUVER, Jan. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - The union representing locked-out locomotive workers in London, Ontario, Canada is bringing its call for fairness directly to Caterpillar customers. At the Caterpillar equipment centre in Surrey, British Columbia Caterpillar customers are being greeted this morning by information pickets, who are asking customers to tell the company they want fairness for these locked-out workers.
The initiative is part of a co-ordinated picket at dealerships and service centres in a dozen cities across the country.
The Surrey picket will take place at: 19498 92 Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia starting at 8 a.m.
After demanding that wages and benefits be cut in half, Caterpillar locked out nearly 500 workers on New Year's Day. The workers are members of CAW Local 27.
"This is greedy, and frankly immoral, behaviour coming from a profitable corporation," said Ken Lewenza, CAW National President. "At a time when inequality is rapidly growing it's vital that we take a stand with this company," he added.
The information pickets are also taking place this morning in: St. John's, Newfoundland; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Montreal, Quebec; Chicoutimi, Quebec; Concord, Ontario; London, Ontario, Windsor, Ontario; St. Catharines, Ontario; Sudbury, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Edmonton, Alberta.
Caterpillar's demand to cut pay in half came despite record profits and surging executive pay. Company CEO Doug Oberhelman's latest annual pay packet was worth $10.5 million, twice what he received the year before.
The Canadian locomotive workers are highly productive and have delivered top-level quality and solid profits throughout 60 years of operation. "Company claims that the workforce is too expensive simply don't add up," Lewenza notes. The highly-skilled welders and production technicians in London, Ontario earn wages entirely in-line with those at the industry-leading firm, General Electric, which builds locomotives in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The CAW's campaign to support the locked-out workers is widening, including the launch of radio ads this morning in several communities.
For further information:
CAW BC area director Susan Spratt: 604-657-4303 or
CAW Communications Angelo Di Caro (cell) 416-606-6311 and John McClyment (cell) 416-315-3202.