A plan revealed Friday by U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc., owner of London’s 90-year-old Electro-Motive Diesel Inc. (EMD), could devastate London, Ont., causing it to lose its status as one of the world’s premier locomotive manufacturing centers.
Sunday Caterpillar had locked union workers out of a train locomotive plant in London, Ontario, saying it is prepared to get tough with workers despite a big recovery in earnings over the past two years. Workers were asked to accept a 50% cut in pay, to an average $16.50 an hour, and their benefits would be eviscerated. When EMD employees predictably balked, Cat made it clear that its offer was take-it-or-leave-it. Mr. Carrie of the Canadian union said Caterpillar was being deceptive "They never came here to bargain."
Anne Marie Quinn, a spokeswoman for Electro Motive Diesel, said in an e-mail today “The company doesn’t have any updates or comment on this week’s talks.”
Canadian Auto Workers Union President Ken Lewenza said individual workers may take it upon themselves to occupy the plant.
Caterpillar said it will relocate production to factories in North and South America.