Siemens Rally Calls for Stop to Closure
March 25, 2010, 10:16 AM EST
Hundreds of Siemens workers and supporters gathered for a noon-time rally outside of the Hamilton plant. The March 18 rally called on the company to reverse its closure announcement.
In his address CAW President Ken Lewenza warned the German-based Siemens that if it does not take this protest seriously, the union will take it to the street.
Siemens employs 400,000 globally and in this past year hired 50,000 people. Lewenza said that collectively we must find a way to tackle the problem of global capital having free rein to pick up and move from one city to another, from one country to another and even from one continent to another.
"This is not a company that is not making money, it's a company that doesn't think it's making enough," said Lewenza of Siemens to a cheering crowd.
If Siemens cannot find a way to keep the work in the Hamilton facility, they must create work of equal value for the more than 500 workers who will lose their jobs.
Randy Smith, president of CAW Local 504, said that people are still shocked about the announcement and angered about being lied to by Siemens. Just six months ago, Siemens declared that it was "committed to Ontario and to the Hamilton manufacturing facility."
"That Siemens is allowed to pick up and leave this city when we are perfectly able to do the same work here is outrageous," said Smith. "We're calling on the provincial and federal governments to use their substantial power to either keep the work here or create other jobs so that Siemens actually does live up to its commitment to the people of this region."
Hamilton East - Stoney Creek MPP Paul Miller; Hamilton Mountain MP Chris Charlton; Hamilton and District Labour Council President Mary Long; and Hamilton City Councillor Scott Duvall also addressed the crowd and pledged their support.
Siemens announced on March 11 it would close its doors as of July 2011, shuttering the more than 100 year old plant.