EMD Lockout – It’s Not My Job!

Last week, a London area MP was quoted by the London Free Press that it was not her job to get involved with the Lockout of CAW Local 27.

She was quoted as saying “We don’t have jurisdiction over this.  The government of Canada holds jurisdiction over federally regulated companies.  Because this is a private company, it falls between the company and the union.”  Maybe, but I would still pick up the phone and call Douglas Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar, and say what is going on here?

I would say something like…

We cut the corporate tax rate from 21% to 15%. This is costing our government $11.5 billion annually while at the same time we are cutting vital services to pay down our federal deficit of $55 billion (2010). We also gave you $5 million to keep jobs in Canada. We were expecting them to be the same jobs, not these new low paying jobs that you are demanding from the workers. Furthermore, we didn’t put you through a lengthy review process because we accepted your claim that the purchase was worth less than the Canada Investment Act threshold of $299 million. You then turn around and value the purchase on your books as $1.3 billion. I also understand that your workers at the plant increased their productivity by 20% last year.  Finally, your company doesn’t seem to be in any financial distress with revenues of $43 billion (2010). So, I think any reasonable person would be saying that you should be expanding your operations in Canada and not trying to force workers to cut their wages and benefits in half.

So, what the hell is going on here?

Of course, the Caterpillar’s secretary does not put my phone call through to Oberhelman.  I don’t feel too bad because the PM doesn’t take my calls either.

But, at least I tried!  As a MP, it is my job to fight for my community.

Clearly I am not suited to be a MP.


Published by Chris Erskine

Inspired by architecture and landscapes, my art explores our relationship to place, memory and identity. As a mid career artist, my art practice includes: painting, murals, short films, and sound art.

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