New Green Jobs Must Come to Hamilton, CAW Demands

August 10, 2010, 12:02 PM EST

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Today's announcement that Siemens plans to build a new wind turbine blade facility in Southern Ontario, instead of moving these new "green jobs" into the company's soon-to-be-closed Hamilton facility, is outrageous, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"This has to be one of the most callous and poorly thought out corporate decisions I've ever heard," said Lewenza.

The Hamilton community has been left reeling since Siemens announced plans earlier this year to shut down its gas turbine facility, slashing over 500 good jobs, and relocate work to a lower-cost jurisdiction in the United States. 

"Where's the sense of responsibility to these workers and their families? Our provincial government cannot subsidize a major green energy project knowing full-well that it will completely undercut Ontario workers," Lewenza said. "If this government wants to protect hard-hit manufacturing communities, create new green jobs, and tackle our environmental crisis, then why are they wasting this perfect opportunity?"

CAW Local 504 President Randy Smith called Siemens' decision a double slap in the face to its Hamilton workforce.

"Our members, who have given many decades of hard work to this company, are being thrown out in the street and have to watch as new jobs are created that they can't have," Smith said.

"There's no good excuse why this work can't come into Hamilton. With the proper retrofits and refurbishments, our members, who are the most highly skilled workers this company has, can go back to work and contribute to the greening of Ontario's economy."

The union is calling on the company and the Ontario government to show leadership and ensure that the new turbine blade work is brought into the existing Hamilton facility. Lewenza outlined the union's concerns in a letter that was sent to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today.

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