• CAW strike vote at London, ON plant

  • Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.
Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by MEC407
From The London Free Press:
The London Free Press wrote:A tense standoff is underway as union members block the movement of a locomotive to protest the lockout of Electro-Motive Canada workers.

About 50 protestors, mainly from Canadian Auto Workers Local 88, are blocking the pickup of the locomotive near a rail crossing on the main street of the town.
Story and video at: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012 ... 91636.html
  by MEC407
From Canadian Business:
Canadian Business wrote:The Canadian Auto Workers union took its campaign against heavy equipment giant Caterpillar to a national level Thursday to protest steep wage cuts and other concessions being demanded of its members at a locomotive factory in southwestern Ontario.

The union said it set up pickets in a dozen cities across Canada to bring attention to the company lockout of nearly 500 employees at Caterpillar's Electro-Motive subsidiary in London, Ont.
A website set up by its locomotive subsidiary, at www.emcupdate.ca, says the company's London, Ont., plant is not cost competitive under the previous collective agreement.
Read more at: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article ... tive-plant
  by MEC407
From the Toronto Star:
Toronto Star wrote:In 1993 Zapke signed on with EMD as a welder. He had put in 10 years at Stelco, saw the writing on the wall there, and jumped to another company before jumping to EMD when the opportunity arose. “It was perfect,” he says. “Right up my ally.”

Zapke is 49, soft-spoken, cancer-stricken — “sh_t happens” — and currently out on sick benefits. He’s more reflective than most, explaining the job of a welder, from beading and fillet welds to the multiple passes on joints required when you’re sticking two-inch-thick steel to inch and three-quarter steel.

As London mayor Joe Fontana likes to say, making a locomotive is not like making a pair of tweezers.

“You’ve got machinists, you’ve got electricians, you’ve got pipefitters,”says Jim Wrinn, editor of Trains magazine. “Putting a locomotive together is a million small pieces and components and they all have to come together and they all have to fit right and work in unison. It’s basically a rolling power plant that’s going down the tracks.”
Read more at: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1123043
  by MEC407
Most of us don't usually think of railroad presidents as being particularly sympathetic with unions... but this one thinks CAT is playing "dirty pool":
The London Free Press wrote:Jeff Willsie, president of Ontario Southland Railway, was on the scene Sunday of a blockade of the London-made locomotive, which is shown in the photograph below.

“If Caterpillar wants to close the plant, then do it like Ford did it; give them severance and negotiate and then be on their way,” Willsie said. “They put forth a ridiculous offer no one can ratify and then locked them out . . . It’s dirty pool.”
Read more at: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012 ... 10331.html
  by MEC407
From The London Free Press:
The London Free Press wrote:The Free Press has learned that locked-out Electro-Motive workers have been told by their union, CAW Local 27, to stop blocking a locomotive that has been dead on the tracks in Ingersoll since Jan. 25.

The locomotive was one of the last to be assembled at the Electro-Motive plant and was moved just prior to the Jan. 1 lockout so it could be delivered to a customer in Brazil. It was en route to a facility near Tillsonburg to be painted before it was to be delivered.

A worker who didn't want his name used said workers had been told late in the day to give up their blockade, but he said he didn't know the reason for it.
Read more at: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012 ... 21366.html
  by MEC407
Progress/CAT is closing down the London plant. http://www.emcupdate.ca/
  by Steve F45
On a CSX yahoo group there is an email posted from the President of CAT to the employee's of the London plant. Not sure if I can paste it here since there is no real link to the source of it.
  by MEC407
Assuming that CAT removes all the equipment related to building locomotives, what are the chances that another company would come in and start building locomotives there? Are any of the smaller North American locomotive builders looking to expand? Or any of the European builders who might want to increase their North American presence?
  by ATSF90East
I doubt another locomotive builder would move into the London plant. I think the most likely entity to take over the soon to be vacated facility would be General Dynamics, who already operate part of the complex to make Stryker Combat Vehicles, another product line spun off by GM. That Roger Smith guy was a real genius, wasn't he? He made GM what it is today!
  by freightguy
Yea what ashame caught article about London plant in WSJ. Even though bringing jobs to US, not on a salary worthwhile. I guess they know what they're doing from a business standpoint. Climate is right depressed areas desparate for jobs. Saw the difference in labor cost. Mentioned GE wanted to open a plant in Fort Worth also.
  by charlie6017
Steve F45 wrote:On a CSX yahoo group there is an email posted from the President of CAT to the employee's of the London plant. Not sure if I can paste it here since there is no real link to the source of it.

I suppose if you could just give us a summary in your own words, that would be good enough--if you don't mind.

  by MEC407
The letter is posted on http://www.emcupdate.ca/
  by Steve F45
Dear Employee:

Earlier today, we had the very unfortunate task of announcing the decision to cease production at Electro-Motive Canada’s London, Ontario facility. Our efforts – spanning about 9 months – to negotiate a competitive labor agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union were not successful.

As you know, we compete in a global marketplace where orders for locomotives are won or lost based on extremely competitive pricing and the ability to meet short turnaround times. All facilities within EMC, Electro-Motive Diesel and Progress Rail Services must achieve and maintain competitive costs, quality and operating flexibility to win in the global marketplace. The London plant, primarily because of an antiquated labor contract, faced serious competitive disadvantages.

Even though EMC’s final offer addressed these competitive disadvantages, the union would not accept our offer. The gulf between the company and the union was simply too wide to resolve. Market conditions made today’s regrettable decision unavoidable.

We will now start the process of conducting an orderly closure of the London production operations, including the transfer of locomotive assembly operations to our competitive facilities in North and South America. We are confident these facilities will distinguish themselves to our customers in quality and service.

We appreciate your hard work on behalf of our customers, and your commitment to see our company become the leader in the global rail industry. Over the past year, we have made large capital investments to position our company to achieve this goal. We know we can count on your help as we realign our operations and show our customers that we are the company they can trust for all of their rail equipment needs.

  by MEC407
From The Guardian:
The Guardian wrote:Locked-out workers, like 36-year-old Luke Lewis, a locomotive tester, did shifts picketing outside EMD's gates throughout January's harsh winter. He told the Guardian he first learned he was out of a job on Facebook, and only received official notice of his termination in a letter five days later.
Many of EMD's former employees are already talking about leaving the city to seek work elsewhere, now that Canada's last locomotive manufacturer has closed. "It's going to be like a ghost town here," 23-year-old father-of-two Ray Vella told the Londoner newspaper. He is looking for work in Nova Scotia nearly 1,200 miles away. Luke Lewis said that he and his young family were planning to leave Canada altogether – to try their luck in Australia or Britain.
Read more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012 ... il-factory
  by MEC407
From the Toronto Star:
Toronto Star wrote:The union representing some 500 Caterpillar employees at the shuttered plant in London, Ont. says it has reached a tentative settlement agreement.

The deal between Canadian Auto Workers and Electro-Motive Canada, the locomotive factory purchased by Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc. 18 months ago, was reached after nearly two weeks of negotiations. A ratification vote is scheduled for Thursday, with details reserved until then.
Read more at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/arti ... over-plant