End of the line for Navistar’s Chatham plant


The end has finally come.

Nearly a decade after it was first announced Chatham’s Navistar plant would close, it has become a reality.

The final death knell came Tuesday — more than two years after the Richmond Street truck assembly facility has sat idled — when Navistar International Corporation issued a news release announcing its plans to close the plant.

The company blamed the inability to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union as the reason operations were halted since June of 2009.

However, the union has continually stated it couldn’t get the company to the bargaining table.

CAW Local 127 president Aaron Neaves said, “it’s hard to negotiate, quite frankly, with yourself.”

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It’s another body shot to southwestern Ontario, the province’s manufacturing engine that has been decimated over the past couple of years with the loss of several thousand jobs alone in St. Thomas/ Elgin – which is bracing for the closure of Ford Canada’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant this fall.

The announced closure of Navistar International Truck’s Chatham facility today is a devastating blow to the workers, their families and the entire community, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

“Despite our relentless efforts since 2009 to reopen the idled facility and get our members back to work, Navistar has remained rigid and is now moving ahead with plans to shutter the plant,” Lewenza said, following the company’s formal announcement.
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Future of Navistar’s Chatham plant remains precarious


Navistar International Corp. (NAV) said it could decide by summer whether it will need to restart an idled assembly plant in Canada.

Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Ustian said the company has sufficient truck-making capacity at the moment, but might need the Chatham, Ont., plant if truck orders continue to trend higher through next year.

“Do we need another manufacturing facility? We don’t know the answer to that,” Ustian said Wednesday during a conference call with analysts. “At least in the short term, likely no. We’re not capacity-limited on making trucks.”

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Navistar Makes No Move to Re-Open Plant, Governments Must Step in, CAW says


TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ – Following months of uncertainty, the bargaining committees from CAW Local 35 and CAW Local 127 met with senior levels of management from Navistar Thursday in Windsor, Ontario. The meeting was requested by the union, as part of its ongoing attempt to have Navistar reopen the Chatham truck facility. The corporation has been demanding massive concessions, significantly reducing the production and jobs at the facility. This facility once employed over 2000 workers and now risks being reduced to less than 100 workers. The corporation maintains that the plant will only be used for cab production, with no trim or paint facilities being utilized. To add insult to injury, the popular Class 8 Prostar and Lonestar which were engineered and built in Chatham will no longer be built there. These were premium trucks that had top quality and were well received by consumers.
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CAW Calls for Government Intervention after Fruitless Meeting with Navistar


WINDSOR and TORONTO, Aug. 19 /CNW/ – The CAW is calling for the Ontario government to intervene in the more than year-long stand-off between the union and heavy truck manufacturer Navistar Corporation, after talks today failed to make any progress.

The CAW called the meeting with Navistar in an attempt to resolve the temporary closure of the plant and explore ways to maximize production at the facility, but the discussions failed to produce any resolutions.

The company did not provide any plans for the future of the facility but has pledged to provide a detailed and formal response within two weeks.

“Navistar Corporation has to understand that to manage change in a workplace it must be done in conjunction with the workers. Those who are affected by these changes must be treated with respect and dignity,” said CAW President Ken Lewenza, following the meeting.

“It is unconscionable that this corporation is allowed to send the historic production, supported by Ontario and Canadian tax dollars, to a foreign country like Mexico. The meeting today and all the meetings to this point have been extremely frustrating and now we will wait for the corporation’s response within the next two weeks.”

“This situation cannot be resolved through collective bargaining and requires significant intervention by the government.”

Navistar temporarily closed the facility in June 2009, laying off its entire workforce after a breakdown in negotiations between the two sides.

The company’s latest proposal includes reducing the workforce down to fewer than 100 people and with historic assembly work performed at the plant outsourced to Mexico. The collective agreement expired on June 30, 2009.

For further information: CAW Local 127 President Aaron Neaves, 519-350-1031; Chairpersons Cathy Wiebenga, 519-436-5184 and Sonny Galea, 519-809-2240

Bottom line is Navistar employees want to go back to work


Navistar workers in Chatham are only asking for decency, respect and a job. And, they’re at a point in their battle where they need the power of the government to step up to the plate.

“For the last 10 years, International Truck was the top employer in Chatham-Kent,” said CAW president Ken Lewenza. “And for the last 10 years, those employees gave back to their community.”

Now, those workers need that same community to support them, he said.

“This is not a fight for CAW. This is a fight for our jobs. This is a fight for the future,” he said.

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Ford turns up nose at unprecedented offer to save St. Thomas Assembly Plant


In a last-ditch effort to save the St. Thomas assembly plant, the province and Canadian Auto Workers made offers of cash and unprecedented concessions — but Ford Motor Co. said no.

The province offered as much as $150 million and the union told the company to cherry-pick details of any collective agreement and put it on the table, CAW national president Ken Lewenza said yesterday.

“(Ford of Canada vice-president) Joe Hendricks told me directly he could not get a better deal from any government than the one the Ontario government was prepared to put in front of Ford Motor Co. He was clear about that,” Lewenza said. “They were prepared to do more than any jurisdiction in the world. The Ontario government was prepared to be a major player.”

Instead, Ford will close the St. Thomas assembly plant in September 2011, cutting 1,600 jobs.

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80% of CAW Local 1520 membership vote in favour of new deal


TORONTO, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ – Thousands of CAW members working at Ford facilities in Oakville, Windsor, St. Thomas and Bramalea have voted in favour of a new agreement, ratifying the deal by 83 per cent during a series of meetings held over the past two days. The deal was reached on October 30 between the two sides.

“No one should mistake workers’ approval as satisfaction with the new agreement,” said CAW President Ken Lewenza. “Members had faith in the union to negotiate the best agreement possible and protect their interests over the long term, but the problems faced by industry cannot be resolved at the bargaining table.”

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