Saturday, January 21, 2012

Some Friendly Advice For Electro-Motive Diesel CAW Workers

You are about to suffer the same fate as those workers who lost their jobs at the Oshawa GM truck plant. Remember that? Lewenza claimed victory against two-tier wages, only to see 2400 truck plant jobs moved south. The end result was Lewenza had to agree to two-tier wages just months later? CAW head Ken Lewenza is about to sell your jobs out all in the name of the union still thinking things haven't changed from the '60s, and refusing to change with the times. Lewenza and his predecessor Buzz Hargrove have caused job losses in the past, by refusing to present contract offers to it's members containing concessions and allowing a free vote. Kind of ironic when the union claims to be the voice of democracy.

So here is what you should do. Tell Lewenza that you want the last contract offer from the company presented in full, and be allowed a free vote on it. If the offer is what is claimed to be stated, then you all have a serious decision to make. I agree the offer as reported by the company is deplorable, especially the wage cuts. I also agree Caterpillar is one of those companies that run rough-shod over it's blue-collar workforce.

But the workers need to make a decision. If the offer is unacceptable, vote against it and let the CAW reps know what you are willing to take. The sad part is I think it's pretty much a given that your jobs will be moved stateside without an agreement close to what the company has supposedly offered.

Be creative. Read the entire offer page by page. Make sure you are being given the entire story on what is being offered. A wage concession looks inevitable. Has profit sharing been offered? Co-pay benefits? Can the pension plan be saved by having employees contribute as well as the company. Ask Lewenza for a reduction in your union dues to help offset wage losses. Those reps working on your behalf are making 6-figure salaries as well.

There's no guarantee this will resolve your problem. But as it stands right now all you have is uncertainty, and a couple of hundred a month in strike pay. Standing outside the gates at $16 an hour is costing you $640 a week in lost wages, or more than $2400 a month.

p.s. It's not just wage costs that decides whether production is left at your plant. Other costs factor into the decision as well. You are about to pay for Dalton McGuinty's failed electricty policies with your jobs, not to mention employer costs he has added as well.


hunter said...

Electricity costs, that is something I hadn't thought about. That alone should be blamed on McGuinty, but they are blaming Harper instead, typical lefties.

They need to choose, a job or no job.

paulsstuff said...

McGuinty increased WSIB premiums quite a bit as well. Other utilities such as water have also risen significantly.

And oh yeah, all those parts being transported to and from the London plant have an additional 13% added onto the fuel shipping costs.

Anonymous said...

Blame Harper or McGuinty it doesn’t matter. The times of good paying union jobs are finished in Canada. It’s over for the unions. With the massive immigration to Canada and the influx of new Canadian looking for any type of work be it skilled or unskilled, the bottom line is that a new immigrant will work the same job for less pay; and the corporations know this all to well.

Bye bye union hello immigration.

Joseph said...

If the union is so convinced the plant is closing they should be trying to get the best buyout package they can so the hourly guys/girls can get on with their lives.
Instead, we have the occupy movement redux.
Lots of chanting from the astro turf and lib-left politician's using this for political gain, and not much else.

Anonymous said...

The CAW could buy the plant and run their socialist non-profit company and see how that works for them. The UAW took over their pensions the CAW can do the same. Here is a link to the EMD offer for what it is worth.

Wage cuts are never easy and I do sypathize but to say that the CAW would not give back one red cent witout even giving a counter offer is also not helpful. Back in the early 90's I had to take a wage cut to keep my job or move on. It hurt but in the long run worked out for the best. One of the EMD workers was on the news and said the company should share their profits but the CAW has specifically rejected this with the auto makers. I guess profit sharing is good when you don't have to share the losses also.

Anonymous said...

Any chance that the union negotiated pension that you are no doubt in reciept of would have been impacted if the workers in Oshawa had caved in tot he demands of GM at the time of the truck plant closure? I respect the CAW, although I am not a member of this union, for standing up against a ridiculous demand such as the one that has been put to the EMD workers.

Don said...

They may as well close the plant. Nowhere have I heard the company make any comments requesting some reasonable compromise. It was just take it or leave it, which tells the whole story. Job which pay more than other jobs do disappear. Take Windsor Assembly, there's a lot less working there now then 10 years ago, it can happen to any one of us. But it makes no sense to go to happy hour wages. May as well go back further to 10.25 per hour

paulsstuff said...

Don, the companies version of negotiation is far different than Lewenza's. The company has asked the union for counter offers, only to be asked for a plant closure agreement.

It's also worth noting the company extended the agreement 6 months to allow more negotiations.

Don said...

It's interesting to note that there likely will be around 40 thousand federal civil servants laid off and this won't make page one of any newspaper, although it may be through attrition. I've read the link to the company's offer, unfortunately it doesn't say how many of each class there will be. It is rather difficult to form an unbiased opinion on this situation. Caterpillar certainly has not done anything right if it truly does want to work anything out with the union, like maybe actually telling their side of the situation to the media.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, CAW should fight for their buy-out packages not to fight to save their jobs. Caterpillar is gone, maybe not today but they will sure leave in the near future to take advantage of Obama's tax break and training funds.

It is a bad time for the manufacturing industry in Ontario. The democrats are working at being re-elected and to do so they are putting a platform that will bring jobs back to the USA. They want to find a way to restart the economy by bringing the manufacturing back and to create jobs by allowing the workers to retrain themselves to be able to do the jobs.

From the desk of John Turner, London Ontario.