February 25, 2002
CAW’s Hargrove accuses Harris government of ignoring union
Toronto, Ontario – Canadian Auto Workers union president Buzz Hargrove sent a tersely-worded letter to Ontario Premier Mike Harris on Friday expressing his disappointment with the Ontario Government’s lack of initiative around the current auto crisis.
Hargrove said the Harris government is not only ignoring the industry’s crisis but has failed to meet with the CAW during his entire term.
Here is the text of Hargrove’s letter to Harris:
Hon. Mike Harris
Premier of Ontario
I write to express my disappointment in reading about your trip to Stuttgart Germany to talk to DaimlerChrysler about investment and jobs in Ontario without any discussion or input with myself or CAW elected leadership at Local 444 in Windsor.
Neither you, nor your government, has shown any interest since your election in 1995 in working with our union or in the industry in maintaining or creating jobs.
Our union has done a lot of work with DaimlerChrysler and over the last 10 years, we were successful in attracting major new investments at all DaimlerChrysler facilities in Ontario.
Why this new found interest on your part? Is it solely a political response to the announcements of several thousand auto workers losing their jobs? It is difficult not to be cynical when only now we hear from Industry Minister Bob Runciman and yourself expressing concern about job losses at
DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM and the auto parts industry.
Having said that, our union has shared some ideas with staff from Mr. Runciman’s office. Much can be done to save these jobs and I would challenge you and your government to live up to your commitment as quoted in the Windsor Star on February 20, 2002, ‘We are committed to doing what it takes to keep these jobs here in Ontario’.
We have proposed the Ontario and federal governments put up the necessary funds to ensure the current maxi-van meets the environmental standards and new crash standards required by U.S. law. This could keep this plant alive and CAW members working at least until the Sprinter is scheduled to be built for the 2007 model year.
We would be pleased to meet with you to further spell out our proposal. Our union also has some ideas for new investment and future jobs at Ford, GM, automotive parts, as well as other offshore manufacturers.
If you are truly interested in saving current auto jobs as well as attracting future jobs, in addition to meeting with the corporations who are taking jobs out of Ontario and Canada, you should at least meet and talk to our union as we are fighting at every level to save and create jobs in this vital industry.
Your attention to this matter is appreciated.
BASIL ‘BUZZ’ HARGROVE