Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is calling on the federal government to provide loan guarantees to Canadian industry, similar to what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has offered to banks to support inter-bank lending, while opposing the possibility of a merger of General Motors and Chrysler.
CAW president Ken Lewenza said that at a time when the country’s industrial base is badly eroding, and thousands more jobs could be threatened by such an automaker merger, the government must respond with equal energy used to support Canadian banks and other financial institutions.
“It would be unjust for our government to inject public funds into banks to protect the financial industry, while allowing productive corporations in value-added industries like auto to collapse,” Lewenza said. “Hardworking Canadians deserve government support just as much as investment banks and hedge funds.”
In a meeting of CAW local workplace representatives from both GM and Chrysler, CAW national and local leaders explicitly opposed the rumoured merger, and signed onto a detailed eight-point statement that calls on the government to provide liquidity assistance and protect Canada’s automotive industry through any future mergers or restructuring. Lewenza called the rumoured merger a “shell game” and said that, “We cannot solve the industry’s problems by reshuffling company brands.”
The statement also commits the union to use every avenue at its disposal to protect Canadian facilities, including calling on the federal Competition Bureau to oppose any merger that does not include protection for Canadian operations.