CAW Members Take Over Closed Ontario Plant

Canadian Auto Workers union says workers at a Kitchener tool and die facility that was shut down earlier this week have begun occupying the plant, demanding severance pay.

KITCHENER, Ont. (CP) — Angry employees of a tool and die maker that closed its doors and terminated all its staff were occupying the facility in protest Friday to demand severance pay from the company.
Ledco Ltd., a 76-year-old company which once supplied parts for the Avro Arrow, had been under intense pressure from the soaring value of the Canadian dollar when it closed its doors earlier in the week after failing to win a 25 per cent wage cut from unionized workers.
The Canadian Auto Workers union said in a statement that the workers would continue to occupy the plant until Ledco agrees to pay the severance.
The company employed roughly 100 people until recently, when that number dropped to about 70.
A union official could not say how many of the workers, who were making about $25 an hour, were taking part in the occupation.
Ron Arends, the brother of Ledco owner Doug Arends, told the Waterloo Region Record ''there's just no money left'' and that he was ''very, very disappointed'' the CAW did not agree to the wage cut.
Arends said the company made it clear to its employees that it couldn't compete with U.S. competitors if the Canadian dollar continued to rise.
''Customers were putting extreme pressure on us on pricing,'' Arends said. ''We got to the point where the bank said, 'No more money.''
Arends also said there are no guarantees employees will get their severance pay. ''If the company is insolvent, the bank has to decide what to do.''
A note taped to the front doors of the plant reads, ''The employment of all employees of Ledco Limited is hereby terminated effective immediately.''
Unionized workers barricaded the entrance to the plant Thursday to prevent products from being shipped and to block trucks from getting in.
Several transport trucks approached the entrance and left empty.
More in Labor