Presstran workers vote for reduced work week
By NORMAN DE BONO, SUN MEDIA
Workers at a St. Thomas automotive parts plant have voted to reduce their work week, rather than see 200 workers go out the door, the plant manager said yesterday.
Presstran, which supplies parts to GM plants, has been hit by the strike between the United Auto Workers and American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc.
"The workers here took a unique approach and had a vote, and support for a reduced work week was overwhelming," said Scott Turner, executive vice-president of Presstran and its sister plant, Formet also in St. Thomas.
"This is bad situation, no one wins, but they wanted to do what they can to help."
Formet issued layoff notices to 1,200 workers yesterday as a result of the strike.
A reduced work week vote at Formet was not an option as the number of cuts is too great, said Turner. "It is part of the culture here . . . servant leadership, that is we work as a team and allow team members to be part of the decision-making process. Good things can come out of that."
There are more than 850 workers at Presstran and about 1,600 at Formet, prior to the layoff. Formet makes pickup truck frames and Presstran stamps underbodies for vehicles. Both plants are owned by Magna International.
Amino Corp., the auto parts plant also in St. Thomas, has laid off almost 20 per cent of its staff, as nine of its 50 workers have been issued notices, plant manager Trent Maki said yesterday.
"We are a small company and that will have an impact on our business, but it is completely out of our control. It is just one thing after another."
Amino makes fenders, doors and hoods for the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky, and Chevrolet Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks.
It is believed the strike will be a long one, as full negotiating teams have not met for a week and only the top negotiators have been talking.
GM has shut down a plant in Oshawa and laid off 500 people at a factory in St. Catharines. The union has been told a car factory in Oshawa could see cutbacks this month if the strike continues.
The dispute over wages and benefits has forced General Motors Corp. to close all or part of 28 plants, affecting more than 37,000 workers, and has caused thousands more layoffs at parts companies.
American Axle strike affecting workers in St. Thomas, solidarity in one plant as workers vote to reduce hours to keep each other employed
From The London Free Press (3/19/08):