CAW demands severance pay for laid off workers| April 23, 2012
Listen to interviews with Ken Lewenza, CAW National President and Chris McGlone, a laid off Snowbear worker.
Listen to speeches from Ken Lewenza, CAW National President, Robin Dudley, CAW Local 1917 President, Jerry Dias, Assistant to the CAW National President, Gary DeLong, Snowbear plant chairperson and Bill Gibson, Kitchener area director.From the press release:
CAW activists will converge in Canada's financial district and outside the offices of private equity firm Catalyst Capital on Monday April 23, protesting the company's refusal to provide severance pay to workers laid off from a plant closure in Guelph.
Snowbear, the largest Canadian manufacturer of utility trailers and snowplows, has shut down production of its Guelph facility. The plant has been idled since the fall of 2011, impacting over 200 CAW Local 1917 members and their families.
Catalyst Capital Group is a private equity firm that's a secured lender to Snowbear. Catalyst, led by co-founder and managing partner Newton Glassman, is trying to sell the assets of the company to recoup lost investments. The CAW has not been provided any assurances that 36 laid-off workers at Snowbear will receive the approximately $500,000 in severance pay they are still owed.
"For many of these workers, severance pay is what puts food on the table and pays the rent as they look for work," said CAW Assistant to the President Jerry Dias. "A few thousand dollars doesn't mean much to rich executives like Newton Glassman but it means a heck of a lot for the rest of us."
Snowbear joins a long list of Ontario workplaces that have denied workers severance pay in the wake of a plant closure, including Aradco/Aramco in Windsor, Progressive Moulded Products in Toronto, Polywheels Manufacturing in Oakville and Edscha in Niagara Falls, among others.