Workers Devastated by MTD Closure, Government Inaction Ensures More to Come

August 15, 2008, 6:45 PM EST


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Late afternoon on August 15, the 240 workers at lawnmower and snowblower manufacturer MTD Products in Kitchener received the devastating blow that their plant would be closing as of October 31. The servicing and warehouse operations will remain open indefinitely, which employ 35 people. The workers are represented by CAW Local 1524.

In May 2007, MTD had threatened to close but the union worked with the company to find cost savings in the operations. On the day of the closure announcement, workers were told that the high Canadian dollar and the declining U.S. economy have taken too much of a toll on the business.

"It's not just people's jobs that are disappearing, with each plant that closes, the Canadian middle class is being wiped out," said Jerry Dias, assistant to CAW National President Buzz Hargrove.

"It's critical that government use the tools at their disposal instead of being passive in the face of what could become an economic avalanche of more bad news and even higher unemployment. People cannot feed their families on government excuses. We need government leadership and industrial policies that support local economies."

The closure announcement comes on the heels of other major layoffs and closures such as General Motor's Truck plant closure in Oshawa, a permanent layoff of nearly 200 people at Martinrea's Kitchener Frame for mid-October with more to follow, a closure at Engel Plastics in Guelph in May with 225 jobs lost and a closure at Ledco in Kitchener in January with nearly 100 jobs lost.

In the last five years more than 350,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost across the country.


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