Canada: Wildcat strike in solidarity with sacked auto workers

Photo of strikers from CANADIAN PRESS
Photo of strikers from CANADIAN PRESS

Workers at a plant in Guelph, Ontario struck on Saturday in support of sacked Toronto car employees occupying their plant for severance pay.

Submitted by Steven. on April 3, 2007

The Guelph Mercury reported that auto workers at Guelph Products Collins & Aikman went on a wildcat strike Saturday to support workers at a Toronto plant pushing for severance pay for 200 laid-off workers.

Nearly 75 of the Guelph plant's staff walked off the job around 3:30 p.m. and management barricaded the turnstile entrances with chains and steel bars so the workers couldn't re-enter.

Vernal Travis, a Canadian Auto Workers' union representative for the day shift, said if the U.S. operations refused to pay severance for the workers in Toronto, they may do the same if another one of the plants shut down. The strike impacted productions at the DaimlerChrysler facility in Brampton, which both plants supply.

However, early yesterday DaimlerChrysler agreed to pay its portion of the workers' severance pay.

It meant workers at the Guelph plant returned to work last night since they ship products solely to DaimlerChrysler.

However, General Motors and Ford haven't come to an agreement with the company, Travis said.

In east-end Toronto about 300 workers continued their protest outside the Collins & Aikman plant yesterday. About 100 workers inside were preventing production at the plant, scheduled to close at the end of July, as reported previously on libcom.

Collins & Aikman, which manufactures automotive floor and acoustic systems as well as cockpit modules, filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. in May 2005.

The company and the CAW are in constant discussions now, said Bob Chernecki, assistant to the Canadian Auto Workers' president.

He said the purpose of the occupation is to force the company into complying with a previous agreement to pay severance to the fired workers.