The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Canada:
Auto Workers Take Over Their Factory

Apr 6, 2009

Workers from two auto parts plants in Windsor, Ontario occupied one of the plants March 17 to protest their sudden closure by Catalina Precision Products, when Chrysler terminated contracts.

Catalina refused to pay the workers 1.5 million dollars in severance and termination pay it owed them, saying Chrysler owed it money.

When Chrysler started to remove equipment from the plant, workers responded by blockading the plant. That got Chrysler’s attention. It offered the workers a total of $205,000 to be divided up among 80 workers, about four weeks of pay. When workers voted 64 to 36% to reject that offer, some of them took over the plant, welding the doors shut. The next day Chrysler doubled its initial offer to $400,000. The offer amounts to about eight weeks of pay for each worker.

When workers left the plant, Jaime Hernandez, a 16-year veteran of the company, said, “I wish I could have more, but at least I get a crumb from the table. Catalina should be penalized for doing this. It’s like a hit-and-run. They make a crime and they just take off.”

Certainly Chrysler’s offer amounts to crumbs. But the workers would not have gotten anything if they had not taken control of the plant and its equipment.

At the end, workers climbed on the plant roof, raising a sign saying, “Fighting Back Makes a Difference.”

Yes it does!