North Bay Workers Frustrated, Angered by Metrolinx Contract Sign-Off, CAW President Says

July 14, 2011, 4:57 PM EST

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CAW National President Ken Lewenza said union members in North Bay are frustrated and angered following news that the province has formally signed-off on a $120 million GO Transit refurbishment contract with Canadian Allied Diesel (CAD). The company announced the contract sign-off in a news release issued July 13.

In a weeks-long campaign effort, the CAW joined with local politicians, businesses and concerned citizens in the community to protest Metrolinx's decision to award refurbishment work to CAD (an out-of-province bidder), citing the overwhelming economic and fiscal benefits of having this work performed by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission based in North Bay.

"It's discouraging to know that the province, despite having been given every good reason to keep this work here in Ontario for the economic and social benefits it would provide North Bay and the broader community, simply refused to listen," Lewenza said.

The North Bay community coalition had urged Premier McGuinty to intervene in the matter, suspend the contract with CAD and re-evaluate the deal based on a more complete cost-benefit analysis. Estimates suggest the province would have saved $6.2 million over the life of the five-year contract if it was awarded to ONTC.

CAW Local 103 President Brian Kelly said the union will continue its public awareness and lobbying campaign, alongside community partners, to secure the GO Transit work.

"Hopefully the premier will finally listen to the citizens of Northern Ontario and step in and reverse this decision," Kelly said. "Our local and the communities our members live in believe that awarding the Metrolinx contract to the ONTC is the best value for public money. We challenge the premier to come to North Bay and convince 500,000 Northern Ontario taxpayers otherwise."

CAW Local 103 represents 450 workers at Ontario Northland across Northeastern Ontario - 110 of those workers handle refurbishment work.

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