Hamilton Council Makes Jobs for Siemens Workforce a Top Priority

May 17, 2010, 2:07 PM EST

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City of Hamilton councilors have approved a motion that makes the retention and identification of "new employment opportunities" for 550 Siemens workers a top priority for the city.

 CAW Local 504 President Randy Smith said the union views council's decision as a good first step. But he stressed the CAW remains determined to explore every possibility for securing jobs for this group of workers.

Siemens shocked Local 504 members when it announced March 11 that it planned to close the doors of its Hamilton turbine facility as of July 2011. The Hamilton plant is more than 100 years old.

 "With a highly skilled and productive workforce in Hamilton, the company will benefit from bringing new work into the Hamilton facility - whether it's gas turbines, wind turbines, light rail work or solar panels," Smith said.

 The Hamilton council motion also establishes that the city work with both the federal and provincial governments to establish a labour adjustment task force for Siemens.

 CAW President Ken Lewenza stressed the Siemens plant in Hamilton is a viable facility. "This plant has a strong workforce and a good future if Siemens steps forward and invests in the facility. The CAW is prepared to work with the municipal, provincial and federal governments and the company to maintain or add new work in the plant. We are determined to ensure high quality, value added manufacturing jobs continue at this plant," Lewenza said.

 Here is the wording of the Hamilton council motion: 

a) That job retention and the identification of new employment opportunities, for the 550 displaced workers from Siemens Wentworth Street North plant, be approved as a top priority for the City of Hamilton;

b) That the Mayor, City Manager and Director of Economic Development and Real Estate be directed to continue working with Corporate staff from Siemens to assist with identifying and facilitating other employment opportunities for the displaced Hamilton workers;

c) That the City of Hamilton work with both the Federal and Provincial governments for the purpose of establishing a labour adjustment Task Force for Siemens Hamilton.

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