The Ontario Federation of Labour has issued what appears to be an escalating threat in the Canadian labor dispute between Caterpillar and the CAW.
Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan today declared that Ontario’s labour movement will mobilize to help the Canadian Auto Workers CAW stop scabs from crossing picket lines at Electro-Motive Canada’s London plant. Workers from across Ontario will prepare to flood the picket lines at the locomotive plant if called upon by the CAW.
“Workers across the province are angry and feel betrayed by their government and they are ready to fight together to defend good jobs,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “We are putting corporations and all levels of government on notice that 2012 will be marred by labour unrest if they continue to destroy the livelihoods of Ontario’s middle class.”
Electro-Motive, a subsidiary of U.S. industrial giant Caterpillar Inc., issued a final offer to its London workers that would cut hourly wages to $16.50 from $35 while slashing pensions and benefits, even though Caterpillar has enjoyed record profits and a 20 percent boost to production over the last year. The company locked out its workers on New Year’s Day and is rumoured to be taking advantage of Ontario’s lax labour laws by bringing in scab labour to keep the plant operational while bullying the union into devastating concessions. Many fear that the company’s hidden agenda is to move production to a U.S. plant in Indiana.
Interestingly, Canadian unions appear to view the U.S. as cheap labor.