Some 10,000 people, according to the Toronto Star, converged at London’s Victoria Park, two hours west of Toronto, on January 21 to participate in the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) sponsored-rally against the lockout of 500 workers. They are members of the Canadian Auto Workers Union at the Electro-Motive Canada plant (recently acquired by Caterpillar Inc.).
The lockout was imposed after the union refused to negotiate the outrageous concessions demanded by the company, including a 50% reduction in wages, and savage cuts in benefits. The company is threatening to move the work to the USA and close the plant. The rally heard from a number of speakers including OFL President Sid Ryan, NDP federal Leader Nicole Turmel, and the mayor of London. Unfortunately more than half the crowd could not hear the speakers because the OFL – once again – failed to mount an adequate sound system. Following the rally a large proportion of the demonstrators travelled to the plant itself, a few kilometers away, where they joined the CAW picket line.
Socialist Action members carried a banner that read “Nationalize Auto, Steel and the Banks – Under Workers’ Control ! Make Capital Pay for the Crisis”. After the rally, NDP Socialist Caucus activist and unionist John Orrett told this reporter “In his speech Ryan said the OFL believes in a different model of capitalism, but of course they never spell this out. For them it is just capitalism with a happy face. They never admit that there is no such thing.”
> The article above was written by John Wilson.