Electro-Motive Workers Day of Action on Saturday, January 21

January 9, 2012, 1:35 PM EST


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Labour organizations from across Canada are pledging support for the nearly 500 CAW members in London, Ontario who have been locked out by Electro-Motive - a subsidiary of U.S. multinational Caterpillar.

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and unions such as the United Steelworkers have spoken out in the media about the need to fight back against the massive 50 per cent wage cut and major pension and benefit concessions.

OFL leadership went to London, Ontario on January 3 and 9 to support CAW Local 27 members who are on the picket line outside the Electro-Motive Diesel locomotive plant.

The OFL has announced plans to join the CAW in mobilizing for a massive London Day of Action in support of the Electro-Motive workers on Saturday, January 21.

"These workers do not have to stand alone to stare down Caterpillar's ruthless anti-worker bulldozers," said OFL Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison. "We plan to mobilize thousands of workers to descend on this London plant to show the overwhelming support that Canadians have for decent paying domestic jobs."

CLC President Ken Georgetti wrote Prime Minister Stephen Harper on January 3 calling on the federal government to disclose the terms and commitments made by Caterpillar for government approval of their purchase of Electro-Motive in 2010.

The Canadian government must get much tougher on foreign multinationals that buy Canadian companies and fail to live up to their promises, Georgetti told Harper.

Georgetti demanded the Investment Canada Act be changed to allow for an open and transparent process when reviewing proposed foreign takeovers.

He highlighted that foreign multinationals have routinely broken promises made to Canadians and their governments under the Investment Canada Act, citing the recent examples of Vale, which purchased Inco, and Xstrata which bought Falconbridge.

US Steel Shut down its Southern Ontario operations in 2009 prompting the government to take it to court for violating terms of the government's approval of the purchase of Stelco. US Steel then locked out Stelco workers in Hamilton in 2010 with workers only returning to work after eleven months in October 2011.  

"The CLC calls on your government to strengthen the Investment Canada Act through various measures, including lowering the threshold for public review, ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities, and requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by foreign owners," said Georgetti.

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