Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Strikes loom in Ontario and Quebec

October 29, 2012
By The Canadian Press

Workers at several manufacturing facilities in Ontario and Quebec either went on strike or voted to strike over the weekend.

In Ontario, workers at Lear Whitby have gone on strike. The 400 workers, members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, set up picket lines at midnight after contract talks collapsed late Saturday night.

The two sides remain far apart over what the union says are Lear’s demands for deep concessions at a time when the company is making significant profits.

Last week the workers voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike to back their demands.


Lear Whitby manufactures seats for vehicles produced at General Motors in Oshawa and there were fears a strike could have a major impact on GM operations in the city.

The Lear strike comes on the heels of another strike at auto parts company Wescast, in Strathroy Ontario which began Saturday morning.

The Wescast strike resulted from a decision by General Motors which would see the current work performed at the facility go to China.

Further west, Some workers at automotive engine-maker Wescast Industries are on strike.

The Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents 75 workers at Wescast’s facility in Strathroy, Ont., says they walked off the job Saturday morning.

The union is accusing the company of showing a serious lack of commitment to labour relations.

CAW spokesman Jim Woods Wescast is not trying to reach an agreement and is attempting to force an contract on the workers that won’t secure work or jobs.

Wescast issued a brief statement saying it has plans in place to ensure continued supply of parts to customers.

Wescast Industries is a global automotive parts supplier that designs and produces engine parts.

Finally, workers at a Bombardier rail plant in La Pocatiere, Que have given their union a strong strike mandate.

Local union president Mario Levesque says 96 per cent of ballots cast today supported the move.

Levesque says workers have been without a new contract since last November.

He says the sticking points in negotiations remain wages and pensions, along with work being outsourced to the United States and Mexico.

There are about 470 unionized workers in total at the Quebec plant, which is currently helping to build a new fleet of subway trains for Montreal.

Bombardier didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The Montreal-based transportation giant employs nearly 7,000 people at manufacturing, engineering, services and business centre locations in Quebec, Ontario, the United States and Mexico.

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