Sterling workers reject CAW

ST. THOMAS, Ont. (Oct. 16, 2000) — Workers at the Sterling Truck plant in St. Thomas, Ont., have voted not to join the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Union president Buzz Hargrove addressed workers prior to the Oct. 12 vote, promising greater job security under CAW representation. The plant employs about 1500 workers.

Some workers had expressed concern that a “yes” vote would prompt Freightliner Corp., Sterling’s parent company and a division of DaimlerChrysler, to shift production to North Charleston, S.C., or Monterrey, Mexico, where it has idle truck plants.

The CAW campaign started in August when Sterling announced 700 jobs will be cut Dec. 4.

“The big issue is the layoff and the uncertain future of the plant. Workers have the opportunity to become part of the DaimlerChrysler master agreement,” Hargrove said during the organizing drive. That would give them “preferential hiring” for any future jobs at DaimlerChrysler plants, he said.

An organizing vote was held in 1996 which resulted in more than 70% of the workforce rejecting the CAW.

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