CAW Urges Harper to Review Caterpillar Purchase of London Locomotive Plant

December 21, 2011, 12:15 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza is calling on the federal government to immediately conduct a full review of U.S. based Caterpillar's purchase of Canada's only locomotive manufacturing facility - Electro-Motive - in London, Ontario.

In a December 21 letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Lewenza said the future of the plant and the 800 good jobs it provides is in peril. "Government inaction and ineffective foreign investment rules could result in the end of more than sixty years of high value-added manufacturing and the loss of 800 good jobs..," Lewenza states.

CAW Local 27 represents production workers at Electro Motive in London.

Under the Investment Canada Act, notification of the acquisition of Electro-Motive was filed with the Minister of Industry, which was reviewed and approved. A receipt was issued in September 2010 declaring the investment required no further review.

Caterpillar bought the London plant in June 2010, but within less than a year of the purchase three other locations in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil are slated to build EMD locomotives. The company is now demanding massive wage cuts from the London workers and the elimination of the pension. Lewenza said it increasingly looks like the company is trying to force workers out on the street, "providing convenient cover for any plans to move production out of Canada." 

"There is broad agreement among industry experts that Caterpillar's long-term interest in Electro-Motive centers on plans to acquire long-sought after technology and to bring production to the U.S. to gain access to State government incentives."

Lewenza stressed that Canada doesn't need another job-destroying failed foreign investment.

"Will you instruct the Minister of Industry to use his powers under the Act to issue a demand and retroactively order a full review of this acquisition?" Lewenza asked Harper.  "Will you instruct your Minister to issue a demand to Caterpillar requiring them to declare their intentions for the London operations? Will your Minister negotiate investment and employment undertakings with Caterpillar to safeguard the future of these operations?"
To read Lewenza's full letter to the Prime Minister please visit


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