CAW's Lewenza Urges Federal Government Action on Navistar Truck in Meeting with Industry Minister Today

June 19, 2009, 2:19 PM EST

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CAW President Ken Lewenza urged federal Industry Minister Tony Clement today to take immediate steps to ensure the continued future of the Navistar Truck plant in Chatham, Ontario.

Lewenza told Clement during a noon hour meeting today that his government's response is a good test of where the federal Conservatives stand when it comes to dealing with the ongoing jobs crisis in Canada's manufacturing sector.

"The Navistar truck plant is the economic lifeblood of the community of Chatham," Lewenza said. "The federal government and provincial governments previously put in money to help ensure the future of this plant and our members have done everything possible to ensure this plant's viability and success."

"The federal government has an important role to play in keeping these jobs in Chatham and in Canada - it's not only important for the workers and their families, but also for the entire community," Lewenza told Clement and Chatham-Kent Essex MP David Van Kesteren at the Ottawa meeting.

The CAW again outlined strong concerns over company plans to layoff active workers at the facility. Currently more than 800 CAW members are on layoff and current company plans would mean less than 100 workers would remain - bringing the total layoff at Navistar to more than 1,000 workers.

The Chatham workforce has consistently produced top quality products for Navistar and the launches of the Prostar and Lonestar heavy trucks were major success stories that significantly raised the company's market share in heavy trucks.

Lewenza was accompanied by CAW Local 127 Chairperson Cathy Wiebenga, CAW Local 35 Chairperson Sonny Galea, assistant to the president Bob Chernecki, and CAW Staff Representative Joe McCabe.

Yesterday, CAW negotiators advised Navistar company officials of the union's intention to bargain beyond the expiry of the current collective agreement on June 30 at 12:01 a.m. in an effort to achieve a negotiated settlement.


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