CAW Urges Federal and Provincial Support for Navistar

October 15, 2009, 8:48 AM EST

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The CAW is calling on the Ontario and federal governments to ensure U.S. based Navistar trucks, which was given more than $60 million in taxpayer support six years ago, maintains its manufacturing site in Chatham, Ontario.

"Federal and provincial governments must play a role in defending workers and the community," CAW President Ken Lewenza said. "Despite this funding, the company continues with its plan to eliminate products from the plant, which will mean the loss of hundreds of jobs. This will have serious consequences not only for workers and their families, but also the entire community of Chatham."

Negotiations between the CAW and the company broke off in June with no further talks planned. The plant has been idled and more than 1,000 CAW members remain on layoff from the plant which has operated in Chatham for more than 60 years.

CAW representatives have met with Ontario Economic Development and Trade Minister Sandra Pupatello and Federal Industry Minister Tony Clement to discuss Navistar, but no progress has resulted so far. Lewenza sent Clement a written message on October 8 asking for a response on the future of Navistar in Chatham and whether the government required guaranteed job levels.

Cathy Wiebenga, chairperson of CAW Local 127 representing production workers at Navistar, said "as taxpayers we must wonder how our governments could provide $60 million in loans to Navistar without any guarantees that secure work for Canadians."

Sonny Galea, chairperson of the CAW Local 35 Navistar office workers unit, said members are increasingly concerned about their future at the plant and that the government must do more to protect their jobs.
"Our federal government has shown no continuing interest in securing a future for the Navistar facility," Galea said. "Now is the time for leadership. We need laws that ensure if a corporation wants to sell their goods in Canada then they have to build in Canada too."

Minister Clement has not responded to the CAW's letter, which according to Galea is further proof of his lack of interest in supporting Navistar workers.


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