Angry union vows to ramp up GM Canada protest

Fri Jun 6, 2008 3:46pm EDT
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By Soyoung Kim and John McCrank

DETROIT/TORONTO (Reuters) - Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, who have blockaded the headquarters of General Motors of Canada (GM.N: Quote) for three days now, vowed to ramp up their fight after failing to win a reprieve from GM on Friday on the closure of its Oshawa, Ontario, truck plant.

"When I talk about being responsible, we have been very responsible -- our members have been in those workplaces building the best cars and trucks in the industry -- but I can't guarantee that's going to last for much longer," said Chris Buckley, president of CAW local 222 in Oshawa.

"What I can guarantee, and I said this to General Motors about an hour ago on the highway, they want their building back and they're not getting their building back," Buckley said to cheers from hundreds of union supporters decked out in red shirts sporting a maple leaf and the words, "Made in Canada Matters."

Angry auto workers have blocked the road leading to GM Canada's head office in Oshawa since Wednesday, protesting against GM's plans to shut the nearby truck plant in 2009.

Buckley asked all union members to be at the blockade on Saturday morning, where he said the union would roll out "the next phase of our fight back."

CAW President Buzz Hargrove told reporters after a 90-minute meeting in Detroit with senior company executives, including Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, that he was very disappointed with the lack of results.

"We still feel betrayed," he said.

Hargrove said the union may challenge GM's decision to close its Oshawa truck plant in court.   Continued...

<p>Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove talks to the media in the lobby of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan June 6, 2008. Hargrove, along with the CAW's GM bargaining committee from Oshawa, is in Detroit to meet GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner and leaders from GM Canada to discuss GM's plans to shut its Oshawa truck plant. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>