Calling on Occupy Movements around the world to join Occupy London Ontario in a show of solidarity with workers illegally locked out by Caterpillar, Inc.
Two weeks from today, on January 21, thousands of union members and their community allies will converge on London, Ontario, Canada, in solidarity with hundreds of workers who have been illegally locked out by their employer, Electro-Motive Diesel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar, Inc.
The company is trying to impose a reduction in hourly wages of over 50%, the elimination of retiree benefits, and an end to the workers’ defined benefit pension plan, among other attacks. In the third quarter of 2011, Caterpillar posted profits of close to $15,000,000 per day, a 44% increase over the previous year.
Occupy London Ontario is calling on Occupy groups to join us for a Day of Action against Caterpillar retail outlets within Occupied Cities on January 21, to coincide with the Ontario Federation of Labour’s march. We expect thousands, if not tens of thousands of people to converge upon our city for this action, and we would like the Occupy movement to help these workers strike back against one of the worst corporate citizens of the past few decades.
Caterpillar is known as a union-busting company. In the mid 1990s, Caterpillar refused to negotiate fairly with the UAW while they were on a 17-month strike. The labour movement suffered a large setback within the USA, based upon the precedent set by Caterpillar’s ruthless attack on their own employees. The company was found to be responsible in the death of Joseph Rakestraw, in addition to having had over 300 complaints of unfair labour practices, a record amount for a labour dispute.
As supplier of bulldozers used by the IDF in punitive home-demolitions within Palestine, Caterpillar is also indirectly tied to the death of American activist, Rachel Corrie, in 2003 on the Gaza Strip. Many have called for Caterpillar to be investigated under the Arms Export Act, and have called for human rights charges against the company for how it provides machinery to destroy lives around the world.
Caterpillar has been found guilty for over $120 million in environmental penalties due to being unable to meet emission standards in the past decade. The company has also been aggressive in working with China in the notorious Three Gorges Dam project, which has displaced 1.3 million citizens.
We, at Occupy London Ontario, believe that Caterpiller is the poster child of bad corporate citizenship. We stand in solidarity with unions like the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), and dozens of affiliated unions represented by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), to oppose the unfair practices of Caterpillar in attacking the 99% to fuel the greed of the 1%.
Caterpillar CEO, Douglas R. Oberhelman, makes over $5,000 an hour, before bonuses are even added to his salary. We encourage all Occupy movements to insist that Mr. Oberhelman take a 55% reduction in wages before he asks over 90,000 of his workers to accept a sub-standard wage while the company enjoys record profits.
On January 21, 2012, join with us in showing Caterpillar that the Occupy movement, as part of the 99%, stands with the Electro-Motive Diesel workers against the greed and corruption of the 1%.
To discuss ways that you can offer support, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent Cornwall, for Occupy London Ontario.