OFL calls for a massive rally supporting locked-out workers

Posted Jan 8, 2012 by Ken Wightman
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is asking workers throughout the province to gather in London, Ontario, Saturday, January 21 for a massive rally supporting the unionized workers locked out by Electro-Motive Canada.
The lock out at Electro-Motive in London  Ontario is going into its second week with negotiations st...
The lock out at Electro-Motive in London, Ontario is going into its second week with negotiations still at an impasse.
The umbrella provincial labour organization is threatening to bus thousands of workers to the east London locomotive plant in hopes of drawing attention to what many see as a watershed labour action for Ontario workers. The company is attempting to slash plant wages by approximately 50 percent, chop benefits and gut the company’s longstanding pension plan.
The OFL represents 54 unions with a membership of one million workers in Ontario. The province, once Canada’s vibrant industrial heartland, now is being mentioned as a possible rust belt cousin to states like Michigan and Ohio in the United States.
The OFL portrays this dispute as hardworking, skilled Canadian workers pitted against a greedy powerful American company, Caterpillar. OFL President Sid Ryan released this statement:
“Good jobs and retirement security are being threatened by greedy corporations and every level of government. If workers don’t start to fight back, decent jobs will become a thing of the past and the middle class will be decimated.”
He promises that the workers and their supporters will “dig in our heels and fight Caterpillar with everything we’ve got.”
The massive protest is billed as a Day of Action against Caterpillar even though the plant is owned by Electro-Motive Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) of La Grange, Illinois. EMD is a subsidiary of Progress Rail Services (PRS). Many see the hierarchy of subsidiaries as puppet companies under the control Caterpillar Inc. — a company well known for its union busting expertise.
As the lock out moves into its second week, many agree that it is CAT, in the not too distant background, playing the tune playing out in London, Ontario.