Premier McGuinty Urges Caterpillar to Show Flexibility

February 1, 2012, 3:10 PM EST

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Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty urged Caterpillar to return to the bargaining table and "demonstrate some flexibility" during a January 31 speech to the London Chamber of Commerce.

McGuinty said the lock out of CAW Local 27 members who work at diesel train engine manufacturer Electro-Motive Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. based Caterpillar, doesn't fit with the pattern of labour relations in Ontario.

The Premier was quoted in a Toronto Star story as indicating the dispute doesn't represent the generally "fair and balanced and responsible and respectful" nature of labour relations in the province.

"We have the case of an employer here which is clearly not meeting Ontario's legitimate and recent expectations," McGuinty said. He was quoted as calling on the company to "come to the table and demonstrate some flexibility." Locked out CAW Local 27 members demonstrated outside the London speech.

Electro-Motive locked out 465 CAW members at its London, Ontario plant on January 1 after they refused company demands for a 50 per cent wage cut as well as major pension and benefit concessions. On January 26 Caterpillar announced its profits jumped 83 per cent over the year before to $4.9 billion, the highest ever recorded by the company.

CAW President Ken Lewenza thanked the Premier for his support. But Lewenza also strongly urged McGuinty to take legislative action to end the lock out.

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