Workers Receive Owed Monies Following Plant Occupation

January 5, 2010, 10:49 AM EST

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Workers at M&I Air Systems received their pay cheques in the days following a plant occupation and demonstration by the workers and supporters, held on December 21.

The Mississauga, Ontario plant suddenly closed its doors on December 15, throwing 180 people out of work, 150 of which were members of CAW Local 252. The employer refused to pay outstanding monies owed to the workers following the closure, which prompted the workers to take immediate action.

"The action taken by these workers was absolutely necessary, as the employer refused to have any dialogue with the local union and/or the local plant committee," said CAW Local 252 President Abbot Harvey. "This situation underscores one more time, the importance of legislative protection for workers and their families."

The union is still working on securing vacation pay, as well as an additional week's pay.

"Without the show of solidarity and support, the workers here would have never seen the money that was owed to them," said Sukhvinder Johl, CAW national representative. "It's an important reminder that even when the situation looks bleak, our actions as a union do make a difference."

The workforce is primarily first generation Canadians with a range of seniority from a few years up to 20 years. The company has not filed for bankruptcy protection and there is still hope that it will re-open.

M&I Air Systems manufactures air handling and ventilation units.

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