CAW Members at Caterpillar vote 97 per cent in Favour of Strike Action, if Necessary
December 30, 2011, 12:00 PM EST
CAW Members at Caterpillar in London have voted 97.8 per cent in favour of a strike, if necessary, at a meeting held this morning. Approximately 90 per cent of members participated in the vote.
Negotiations between CAW Local 27 and Caterpillar have been ongoing since November in an effort to reach a new collective agreement to replace the current six-month extension. The contract deadline is set for tomorrow, December 31 at 11:59 p.m.
The company tabled a final offer that would slash wages in half, bring drastic cuts to benefits and eliminate the pension plan, at a time when sales, profits and executive compensation have soared, hitting all-time highs.
The union has voiced the concern that Caterpillar may attempt to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of employment once the collective agreement expires.
CAW National President Ken Lewenza said that if the terms and conditions of employment remain the same, the union will not go on strike.
"We believe Caterpillar is trying to provoke a labour dispute so they can pull out of this country," said Lewenza. "Since purchasing Electro-Motive last year, Caterpillar has shown very little desire to continue production in Canada and now they're looking for an excuse to shut down operations and leave, despite being highly profitable."
"This is an unprecedented final offer that would have a terrible impact on our members' livelihoods and their families."
Lewenza recently called on the federal government to review the purchase of the Electro-Motive Canada by U.S.-based Caterpillar through the lens of the Investment Canada Act, and intervene to ensure Caterpillar does not end production in Canada. To read the full letter, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10811.htm