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Vol. 76/No. 3      January 23, 2012

Jan. 21 solidarity rally called
for fight against Caterpillar
MONTREAL—The Ontario Federation of Labour has called a Jan. 21 Day of Action to support about 650 members of Canadian Auto Workers Local 27 locked out Jan. 1 by Caterpillar-owned Electro-Motive Canada in London, Ontario. A mass rally in front of the plant will begin at 11 a.m.

Electro-Motive, a mainstay of the London-area economy, is Canada’s only railroad locomotive factory and is the second-largest maker of locomotives in North America.

The bosses shut the doors at midnight Dec. 31 after the workers rejected by a 98 percent vote a contract that would cut wages by 50 percent from around $34 an hour to $16.50 and impose massive cuts to benefits and pensions. According to Electro-Motive’s website, the company must be “cost-competitive.” To do so it must eliminate “antiquated work rules” that make the plant “inefficient.” It also said that workers at its plant in LaGrange, Ill., make less than half what workers get at its Canadian plant.

“We are not the villain here,” said CAW Local 27 President Tim Carrie in a phone interview with the Militant Jan. 4. “This isn’t bargaining, just ultimatums. It’s a clear example of the rich getting richer at the expense of middle class jobs.”

So far the company has not hired new workers to keep the plant operating. “If they try to use scabs that would be a declaration of war,” said Carrie.

“We see this fight as being central to the entire labor movement and we are going to dig in our heels and fight Caterpillar with everything we’ve got,” said Ontario Federation of Labour president Syd Ryan in a press release. The federation reports it is busing public and private workers from across Ontario to the rally.

Solidarity messages can be sent to: CAW Local 27, 606 First St., London, ON N5V 2A2. Phone: (519) 455-3430. Fax: (519) 455-3960. E-mail:
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