Canadian Auto Workers Union Getting Desperate

By: Evander Klum

Canadian Auto Workers are taking things into their own hands after implementing what they called the Buy Domestic and Manufacturing Matter campaign. The Local 222 which represents the workers at the GM plants in Canada is asking employees that are not driving GM-manufactured vehicle be forced to pay parking fee of $100 per year. Aside from that they will also be designated to park at the most remote areas at GM parking lots.

According to Keith Osborne, plant chairman, "It sends a message to our membership that it is important to support the industry." He also said that the policy will reward those who are loyal to GM brand and the proceeds from the fee will be donated to a local charity.

Mr. Osborne has also written GM President Arturo Elias of the union plans to go on fighting for the future of manufacturing jobs in Canada. The letter dated June 12, 2007 state: "Our experience is that people need to understand there are economic consequences that accompany their choice of vehicle."

Unfortunately GM management did not support such move of the Union. Stew Low spokesman for GM Canada said that the company does not agree on imposing parking fees for employees' not driving GM-manufactured vehicle. He also added that the company does not believe that implementing such fee would encourage loyalty.

He further added, "It is our desire that consumers will choose GM vehicles because they are high quality, offer the safety features and value -- warranty coverage, OnStar, XM radio -- they are looking for. While we appreciate the idea to promote GM cars and trucks, we have decided not to move forward with the idea the union presented as some of those non-GM vehicles may belong to visitors (or) suppliers."

The Union has already started implementing a similar policy in its own lots by preventing the entry of vehicles not built by Detroit's Big Three -- namely General Motors (producer of ), Ford, and Chrysler. All vehicles that are manufactured by foreign automakers have to park at the remote corner of the lot.

Local 222 President Chris Buckley said that policy aims to educate people on the importance of purchasing North American-made vehicles especially employees of GM who own non-GM brand vehicles and who make their living from GM.

Mr. Buckley also added, "For the most part, our members that we represent at General Motors, drive GM vehicles or Big Three vehicles. There are a lot of contractors who get hired by General Motors for different projects -- people who are not represented by Local 222 or CAW -- (and) although they are being hired to perform a task by General Motors and being paid by General Motors, they are driving imported vehicles. Shame on them. If they're earning money from General Motors, they should be buying and driving a GM product."

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