Oshawa, Ontario – Members of the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) are continuing their blockade of General Motors of Canada’s headquarters in Oshawa, Ontario in a show of support for the union’s ongoing efforts to prevent the closure of the GM truck plant in 2009. Hundreds of members and community allies joined the blockade on Sunday, June 8.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove called the decision to close the plant a “despicable act”, following a new collective bargaining agreement two weeks earlier. “In all my years of bargaining, I have never seen something like this happen,” Hargrove said. “General Motors doesn’t have the right to do what they’ve done.”
Canadian Labour Congress president Ken Georgetti visited the blockage and pledged the support of 3.2 million CLC members from across Canada; a similar show of support was made by International Metalworkers Federation general secretary Marcello Malentacchi on behalf of 120 million metalworkers worldwide.
Hargrove blamed the ongoing job loss on federal government inaction to address such issues as the high dollar, oil prices and unfair trade. He also referred to the North American AutoPact, which ensured that every imported vehicle sold in Canada was met with an equal value of domestic investment; the AutoPact was struck down by the World Trade Organization in 2001. Hargrove has urged the federal government to adopt a resolution in the House of Commons calling for similar AutoPact provisions for light-duty trucks sold in Canada in an effort to keep the Oshawa plant running.
The union is currently planning for a fourth phase of its demonstration, and will hold a solidarity march in Oshawa on Thursday, June 12 at noon.