Top Left Header
Header
Go Home
Opinion
Arrow
Title - The View from Dundas
Follow OurHometown.ca on... Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on RSS Follow Us with E-Mail Updates!
Follow Me on TwitterPhillip Blancher is a writer, web geek and communications professional by trade. He has written for a number of publications in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York State and also was a weekly morning show contributor for two area radio stations. As a resident of South Dundas for the last seven years, this long-time political buff has taken on an appreciation of small-town/rural life while also being a father of four and a soccer coach. Blancher's columns on OurHometown.ca will cover a range of his interests from politics, parenthood, local history and on his favourite NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres. If you have questions or wish to contact Phillip, you can email him at pblancher@ourhometown.ca
Plenty of blame to go around in Caterpillar closure
Phillip Blancher
OurHometown.ca

Plenty of blame to go around in Caterpillar closure
The announcement by Caterpillar of the closure of their Electro-Motive locomotive plant in London, Ontario last week was a punch in the gut. Not only for the 450 workers who went from lock-out to clean their lockers out, but for the community, the province and the country as a whole. No sooner did the announcement go out, the finger-pointing game began.

South Dundas - February 7, 2012 - The announcement by Caterpillar of the closure of their Electro-Motive locomotive plant in London, Ontario last week was a punch in the gut. Not only for the 450 workers who went from lock-out to clean their lockers out, but for the community, the province and the country as a whole. No sooner did the announcement go out, the finger-pointing game began.

It was the union's fault, it was the greedy company's fault. Blame McGuinty! Blame Harper! Blame everyone, and they should as there is enough blame to go around.

Caterpillar bought Electro-Motive in 2010. With a track-record of moving production from expensive facilities to lower-cost facilities, this move from Caterpillar should not have been a surprise to anyone. When a company starts contract negotiation by stating that everyone has to take a 50% pay cut, they are playing hardball and are prepared to walk.

The Canadian Auto Workers union representing those employees can stand to take some heat here too. For most of the facility's life, it was owned by General Motors. The same highly-paid union salaries that dragged down costs in GM's auto production occurred here as well. Union wages rose and rose, the sky is the limit to the land of milk and honey. When business was good, the company could afford to accede the request for more money and benefits. The problem with that is, Electro-Motive may have been the number one company in it's field for the first 50 years, the last 40 years have been spent as second-fiddle to General Electric. The company is not as cutting edge anymore.

The McGuinty government can carry some blame on two fronts. Not for the Premier's comments two days prior to the closure announcement, but for both stagnating industry in Ontario, and for a feckless response after the announcement. With a highly skilled, technical manufacturing plant like Electro-Motive, there is no reason why the Ontario government could not have been out helping locate a company to come into that plant and hire some if not all of the workers. How can McGuinty do that with eight years of performance that has put nails in the coffins of manufacturing plants from Cornwall to Sarnia?

The Harper government also has some blame, namely in approving the sale of Electro-Motive to Caterpillar in 2010. With Caterpillar opening new production facilities at the same time as the purchase of Electro-Motive being announced, it does not take a rocket scientist to see that Caterpillar could quite possibly relocate production outside of Canada.

In the end we all lose from this closure, just as we have from closures at Courtalds and Domtar in Cornwall, to Caldwell Linens in Iroquois to Black and Decker in Brockville and so many more plants that have closed in the last 30 years. When we lose the ability to manufacture goods and products ourselves, we become more dependent on foreign interests to do it for us. We lose trades, we lose knowledge, and ability. Losing those is the worst, as once it's gone, is very hard to get those skill sets and those people back.


Follow OurHometown.ca on... Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow us on RSS Follow Us with E-Mail Updates!
Send Us Your Thoughts


Title - Story Count
7,727 Stories & Growing Daily...

To date OurHometown.ca has posted a total of 7,727 stories! News, sports, hockey, lifestyle, opinion and more!

Be sure to check out our Contributors and Columnists archives!

Dubnyk was nothing more than adequate for the Edmonton Oilers in 2013

Title - More OH Headlines
Click on Photo or Story Title for more info
Windsor Police Arrest Male in Child Luring Investigation
LCBO extends hours in advance of potential labour disruption
Canada fully supports the United States, says Trudeau
Traffic stop leads to drug possession charge
Windsor Couple “thrilled” to support local Parkinson’s research
OurHometown.ca News Database Last Updated:
Aug. 9, 2017 @ 2:25 PM EDT






Footer
Free Sitemap Generator