CAW blockade stops Electro-Motive in its tracks
Union stops Caterpillar from moving unfinished train from London to Ingersoll
Electro-Motive workers from London have stepped up their protest against Caterpillar, the parent company that locked them out New Year's Day after contract negotiations broke down.
For more than 24 hours now, the CAW has blocked the movement of a new Electro-Motive locomotive that was discovered sitting on the tracks in Ingersoll. The blockade began Wednesday morning.
The union said it is one of the last engines produced at their factory in London, before the lockout began.
The union thinks the engine was on its way from Stratford to Ingersoll, where it claims it was to be painted.
Union members said the painting would have happened in London if they were back at work.
"Caterpillar's made billions of dollars over the years. They're offering us half of our wage scale. And we're not going to let them send our locomotives elsewhere to be built," said CAW plant chairman Bob Scott.
The CAW's president Ken Lewenza said he fully supports the protest.
"It's an incredibly difficult time for our membership, and Caterpillar, quite frankly, shouldn't think it's business as usual, because it's not," he said.
Lewenza, said the locomotive is not going anywhere until Caterpillar agrees to re-start negotiations.
"The company owns the facility. The company can manage the facility. But we own the work. So any place that Caterpillar may be doing historic work that would normally be done by our Electro-Motive place, we're going to try and stop it," Lewenza said.
The union said police have told them they're not going to interfere with the blockade as long as public safety isn't compromised.
So far, Caterpillar has not commented on the blockade.