Navistar Workers Reject Latest Proposal, CAW Urges Navistar to Keep Jobs in Canada

July 2, 2009, 12:00 PM EST

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More than 900 Navistar workers rejected the latest proposal from the company in the ongoing negotiations between the CAW and the Navistar, at a membership meeting held on July 1 in Chatham, Ontario.

"We cannot expect our members to accept a contract that will eliminate their jobs and devastate their already hard hit community," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.  "We need a real commitment from Navistar on the future of this plant. So far, what we've seen from Navistar only includes eliminating hundreds of jobs and moving production out of the country to the United States and Mexico." 

With the expiration of the collective agreement on June 30, Navistar has laid off the 350 remaining workers with 800 already on lay-off, with no recall date set.  During this time, the company is refusing to pay benefits, as is customary in the case of a layoff.

The company has also refused to extend the collective agreement and continues to reject the idea of bringing in a mediator, offered by the union in the hope of reaching a new deal.

"This plant is still in business today because of the generous injection more than
$60 million several years ago by the federal and provincial governments, Navistar must be mandated to continue production here in a meaningful way," said Lewenza.

"The federal government, including Chatham-Kent Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren, must act to ensure that these monies will not be wasted by Navistar moving most of its current production out of the country," said Lewenza.  "If Navistar is going to continue to sell trucks in Canada, they must also be forced to continue build them here and keep Canadians working."

In the latest proposal were significant concessions to both economics and workplace rules, including drastic changes to scheduling, which would be controlled by the company and offer no guarantee of hours worked, along with the indefinite lay-off of 1000 workers.

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