Tag Archives: caterpillar

London Should Have More 50% Off Days

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So, we’ve had more than a month to ruminate on the situation in London, Ontario where international machinery company Caterpillar battles it out against a few hundred unionized labourers at Electro-Motive Diesel.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that’s going to happen because all of our leadership is on the side of selling out to the international ‘who’s who’ of screw local workers and these people will have to accept half of what they used to just to put food on the table.

With this in mind, I have a suggestion:  50% days, starting in London, taken nationally.

We create a bunch of pins, bumper stickers, shirts, etc that declare that we – citizens of this community – are fine with accepting 50% off our wages and salaries, but we’ll also demand 50% off other costs of living, including some of the following:

  • Gas
  • Food
  • Mortgage rates
  • Housing prices
  • Property taxes
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Cars
  • Donations to charities and political parties
  • etc

And … to top it all off, the City of London should embark on a ‘50% off profits’ campaign, where any company not based in London will also face a 100% increase in property taxes to reflect the reductions demanded by its citizens.

It’s the only way folks:  since the Kevin O’Leary MBA-types out there are telling us it has to be this way and we have to take it or leave it, we need to fulfill the second part of the equation.

#Occupy Electro-Motive?

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For most of the world, this is all old news, but I have to vent about this issue.

Electro-Motive, the locomotive manufacturing company that’s owned by Caterpillar Inc., gave a shocking update to 500+ employees at the beginning of 2012 by telling them they had to accept less than half their original pay or the plant will be closed.

Caterpillar’s move devalues us all.

When these guys were making $30 an hour, I could charge a similar rate for my time.  Now that they’re being forced to accept about half that, that has a negative impact on my billing rate.

Should I charge clients $25 per hour?  $20?  $15?

How low are we supposed to go?

This is a kick in the junk for all Canadians.

Admittedly, one of the greatest challenges this country (and others) faces is the resistance of unions to change.  How many accept stock option plans or direct local ownership?  How many engage in co-op-type models instead of worker / employer models that are cast in the beginning of the 20th century as opposed to the 21st?

What are unions doing to respond to these kind of actions locally and globally?

And what actions are our governments taking when they forked out millions to Caterpillar Inc. to set up shop in London, Ontario?  What did they do to encourage ownership at the local level?  Why didn’t they anticipate companies coming in, stealing our money and locking out local citizens?

What’s their plan for stability or are our politicians only good at throwing our money around for foreign corporations?

Last question:  when so much went into this plant in terms of public investment, why are not considering Electro-Motive to be public property?  If we spent the money to get the plant here, then part of that plant is ours and belongs to the people of Canada.  It probably wouldn’t be easy, but we should re-tool the facility and convert it to making all kinds of train-related vehicles (trains, subway cars, trams, light rail, high-speed transit, etc).

To be honest, I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I know this:  more people should be asking them.

Perhaps these questions will come up when thousands of people descend on London’s Electro-Motive plant January 21 to rally against Caterpillar Inc.

I’ll be there.  Join me.