CAW Will Strike Johnson Controls to Save Jobs, if Necessary

August 16, 2011, 12:25 PM EST

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CAW Local 222 members working at the Johnson Controls auto parts facility in Whitby, Ontario have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if a fair deal can't be reached by 12:00 a.m. on August 26. The strike vote was approved by 99 per cent of union members at a meeting on Sunday August 16.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the key sticking point in negotiations is job security. The employer notified the union that next generation work will be performed at a facility in Michigan, cutting 170 workers out of the Whitby plant. This would slash the current workforce by over half.

Lewenza said the union is working hard to find a solution that will save these jobs.

"The strong strike vote should send a clear message to the company that our members will resist this decision," Lewenza said.

The Whitby facility produces door pads and floor consoles for the Chevrolet Impala, as well as seats for the Camaro. A strike will have an immediate impact on production at the General Motors Oshawa complex, warned Jerry Dias, CAW Assistant to the National President.

"General Motors is an important stakeholder in this dispute," Dias said. "We worked closely with GM and their parts sector suppliers during the economic downturn to help keep production flowing, and the industry working. Now that the sector is stabilizing, we're going to ensure our members don't get left behind."

The CAW represents over 300 workers at the Whitby facility. The two sides have been in contract talks since the beginning of August.

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