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OFL and CAW Visit Locked Out Workers in London Ontario

by Mike Roy and Occupy London Media Team

In this video from the Occupy London Ontario Media Team, they continue their coverage of the lockout of 650 workers at the local Caterpillar plant. On December 30, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), which represents the production and skilled workers at Canada's only locomotive plant, voted to strike if necessary, as attempts to reach a collective agreement had stagnated.

The CAW notes that Caterpillar is trying to slash workers' wages (by 50 per cent), significantly reduce benefits to workers, and eliminate workers' pension plan. It's an offer, in effect, that Caterpillar knows can never be accepted by the workers. With the recent purchase of three plants in Mexico, the US, and Brazil, Caterpillar seems to be planning to outsource the London plant to take advantage of non-unionized workers abroad. A major rally is planned in London for January 21.

In this video Tim Carry from Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and Nancy Hutchison from Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) visit the lines outside the Caterpillar plant.

"It's frustrating that this government keeps giving handouts to corporations and in return these corporations just slam workers one by one by one and shut the doors and lock-out workers when they have made them so profitable," says Hutchison

The Occupy London Media Team has also done videos on how the striking unions were told to remove porta-potties that workers on the picket lines were using. The solidarity between Occupy London and the CAW has roots, and one of the sticking points in attempting to reach an agreement with Caterpillar is that the company no longer wants to pay into the solidarity fund with which CAW supports broader social struggles, such as the Occupy movement.

Members of Occupy London have camped out in solidarity with the striking workers, sometimes in bitter -25 Celsius conditions.

"We had the tent set up and I took a nap and I woke up and there was a woodstove there, and there was a table with all kinds of soup and cookies," says Jess from Occupy London.

Mike Roy is a Libertarian socialist similar to Noam Chomsky. He believes in free speech and exchange of ideas.

This video was originally posted on the Toronto Media Co-op. For more from the Occupied London Media Team, go here.

Geography: Ontario

January 16, 2012

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