Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Auto workers seize Windsor plant in protest


A group of disgruntled workers at a recently closed auto parts supply company in Windsor, Ont., have taken over the plant.

In the latest bizarre twist in a saga that has been brewing since two auto plants in the area shut down early last week, about a dozen workers occupied the Aradco plant Tuesday night. They have welded the doors shut from the inside and say they will not leave until they get what they are owed.

Work at the Aradco plant stopped last week because of a dispute between the plant owners and Chrysler, which has mused publicly about pulling out of its Canadian operations unless unionized workers make substantial concessions.
Employees reject severance offer

The Canadian Auto Workers Union that represents the Aradco workers say that in the wake of the shutdown, the workers are owed money for severance pay, vacation pay, and termination pay totalling $1.7 million.

The plant's owner, Catalina Precision Products Ltd. has offered the workers four weeks of severance pay — or about $200,000 in total for all 80 workers.

The plant builds parts for Chrysler. Since last week, Chrysler has been trying to go in and collect parts and tools it says are the company's, but the workers are not allowing it. They have been blocking trucks from coming on to the property. Union representatives say the workers fear that if the tools and parts are removed, they will have no negotiating power.

"Some of the workers here have decided to take over the plant. That's the only thing they have in order to try to get the monies that are owing to them," said Gerry Farnham, president of the CAW local representing the workers.