All is quiet on the Navistar front

When and if Navistar’s idled Richmond Street truck plant re-opens remain in serious doubt.

No new talks are scheduled despite a willingness by the Canadian Auto Worker’s union and the company to return to the bargaining table.

The plant’s 350 workers have been idled since the June 30th expiration of a three-year contract.

A brief meeting in Windsor two weeks ago between both sides was just that — brief.

“The company is sticking to its original proposal to greatly downsize the Chatham operation,” said national CAW representative Joe McCabe.

McCabe admitted the lengthy closure of one of Chatham-Kent’s largest manufacturing facilities is creating a huge financial burden for its unemployed workers and the community in general.
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Times are tough for (almost) everyone

By Ben Eisen
Policy Analyst
Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Working for the Canadian government has been a sweet deal for a long time. In addition to job security, outstanding benefits and generous pensions, federal employees are paid, on average, much higher wages than workers in other sectors of the economy.

Although most people know that government workers are highly paid, it is less well known that the gap between government employees and everyone else has grown steadily over the past 20 years. The growth of government salaries relative to the rest of the economy is a costly trend which, if it is not stopped, represents a serious threat to Canada’s long-term fiscal health.
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Ontario’s economy cannot prosper without a vigorous manufacturing sector

Formet Industries, St. Thomas

Formet Industries, St. Thomas

Posted by Ian:
Thanks to Serge Lavoie for the heads up on this positive look at this region’s manufacturing base. With plants and factories shuttered the length of South Edgeware and the Ford plant teetering, let’s hope that indeed the industrial engine is just idling.
So, here is the key question posed by the Toronto Star:

Without a revitalized manufacturing base, Ontario has little chance of a healthy economic recovery that delivers the good jobs and high productivity we need for sustainable prosperity.

So a key question as we face a federal election some time in the next 12 months is which party, Conservative or Liberal, can deliver the most effective manufacturing strategy for the province.
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11.2 per cent and rising

It’s Thanksgiving, but Londoners have no reason to be thankful for the latest job numbers.

Unemployment in the London-St. Thomas area edged up in September for the tenth straight month — to 11.2% from 11.1% — despite a surprising drop in both the national and provincial rates.

“London is threatening to become the land that recovery forgot,” said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Capital Markets and a London native and University of Western Ontario graduate.
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Recession over? Come visit St. Thomas

Maybe Mark Carney should take a stroll along South Edgeware Road in St. Thomas before he declares this recession over.

Last week the governor of the Bank of Canada predicted our economy would start to grow again this summer after three consecutive quarters of shrinkage.

But head out to the small cities and towns surrounding London and that prediction elicits a lot of head-shaking and rueful laughter from people who doubt that good times will quickly return to this area.
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An improved Employment Insurance program would provide a better stimulus to the economy

OTTAWA – An improved Employment Insurance program would provide a better
stimulus to the economy than anything the federal government has tried so
far, says Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti.

He was responding to the release by Statistics Canada of labour force
figures for June 2009, when a net of 47,500 workers lost their full-time
jobs. There are now about 1.6 million unemployed Canadians, an unemployment rate of 8.6%. Fewer than half of the unemployed are actually collecting benefits due to rules, regulations and obstructions embedded in the EI system.
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Navistar under scrutiny

The Ontario government will go after Navistar International Corp. if it has failed to meet obligations it made when the province gave it $30 million in assistance to keep its Chatham truck plant open six years ago, Economic Development Minister Sandra Pupatello says.

“They do have obligations with us and they’re going to have to meet those obligations,” she said. “We’re reaching out to the company now, and we know that’s important.”

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As jobs go, so do political fortunes

“St. Thomas, London, St Catharines, Oshawa – a lot of people who voted Conservative last time around are unemployed right now,” said Peter Woolstencroft, a political scientist at the University of Waterloo, which is located in one of the province’s key auto-making regions.Mr. Woolstencroft said the difficulties being experienced by those same voters may explain why Michael Ignatieff is pushing so hard for an extension of unemployment benefits.
He also sees the Liberals at least modestly bouncing back in the area.
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A Train That Is Leaving the Station

Auto workers in Detroit should be learning how to build and service electric cars powered by hydrogen or new battery technology. Laid off construction workers should be learning how to install solar panels or how to insulate buildings to save energy. Unemployed bankers could be learning about counting carbon emissions and about how to reduce those greenhouse gases and use credits to help others do likewise. These are all skills that will be in great demand as the economy recovers, not just for a few more years of pollution-based prosperity, but for generations of sustainable growth to come.
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