CAW Solidarity Means Former Ledco Workers Receive Severance

August 11, 2008, 10:58 AM EST


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The 66 former Ledco Limited workers in Kitchener Ontario received long awaited severance cheques August 8, after the severance pay was made a top priority in the last round of bargaining with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

Ledco plant chair Fred Stein said that without the solidarity of members of the Big Three bargaining committees and that of local unions across the region, this day wouldn't have been possible. Stein was one of the nearly two dozen workers who occupied the plant from January 25 to 27 in an effort to secure severance pay.

Jerry Dias, assistant to CAW National President Buzz Hargrove, said that the Ledco closure and fight for severance is a further example of why stronger legislation is needed for workers who lose their jobs.

Ken Lewenza, chair of the Chrysler Master Bargaining Committee and national presidential candidate, said that the good news of the long awaited severance cheques is not reason for celebration, but should serve as a rallying cry to protect the country's manufacturing jobs.

"There's no way a severance package makes up for the job losses in this community," said Lewenza. This plant closure, like those seen in so many other communities, isn't inevitable, but caused directly by unfair trade practices and government inaction, he said.

"Globalization can be controlled through legislation," said Lewenza, emphasizing that governments have all the tools at their disposal, if they choose to use them.

Workers received $1,200 for every year on the job, with no cap on minimum or maximum number of years.

The tool-and-die facility manufactured tooling equipment and metal parts for the auto industry, mainly suppliers to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.


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