January 15, 2009

Canadian union riled at U.S. truck deal

The Canadian Auto Workers union is upset the federal government awarded a contract for military trucks to a U.S. manufacturer in Texas.

Earlier this week, the Conservative government announced it had awarded a $274 million contract for 1,300 medium-size military trucks to Navistar, The London (Ontario) Free Press reported.

CAW spokesman Bob Chernecki told the newspaper that was a smack in the face to the battered Canadian automotive industry, especially since there is a Navistar-owned International Truck plant in Chatham, in southwestern Ontario.

It is unconscionable to use our tax dollars to build military vehicles ... in Texas, he said. We have a crisis here in manufacturing. Why not put this work in Canada?

Dave Van Kesteren, the Conservative member of Parliament who represents the Chatham area said it is not government responsibility to tell a company where to build the trucks, but added for every dollar spent on the Texas contract, Canadian companies would see one dollar spent on maintenance and repair of the vehicles.