The auto industry is dead.
That means the CAW is foolish to waste its lobbying efforts by demanding that automakers keep plants open in Ontario towns like Windsor, Oshawa and St. Thomas.
Car and truck manufacturing plants are closing, or scheduled to close, in all three towns. The decline of the auto industry will throw tens of thousands of skilled workers out of work, and devastate the towns-particularly Oshawa, where GM is the largest employer.
On Friday, CAW posted an open call for financial support of the Canadian auto industry. If they’re asking for funds to lobby automakers to stay open in Canada, that’s foolish. If, however, they’re asking for money to directly support front line workers who have been laid off, then the funds make far more sense.
Especially since GM is saying on its Facts And Fiction website that one way they’ve improved business is by reducing their salaried workforce.
I am concerned for the citizens of Oshawa, Windsor and St. Thomas. But all signs say that the auto industry has had its moment in the sun.
Consumers are driving less in order to be more active and to help the environment. Gas prices are making it prohibitive to use cars-especially trucks and SUVs-on a regular basis. Add that the world’s supply of fossil fuel stands to run out in a matter of decades, and you have an industry that’s rapidly becoming part of the past.
So why waste so much energy-no pun intended-on saving a dying industry when what matters more is saving the welfare of autoworkers and their towns?
A far better government relations plan is to lobby other industries to bring their manufacturing sectors to cities like Oshawa. It’s a perfect situation for new business: a massive pool of skilled workers ready for hire, existing plants that need only be modified to suit the new product, and just a matter of hours from Toronto.
Recycling plants are a new reality in the 21st century-why not build them in Windsor? Better still, lobby GM to focus on development of its hybrid vehicles, and have them manufactured in Oshawa or St. Thomas.
Much needs to be done, and immediately, to help the citizens of auto-manufacturing based cities and towns. But fighting to keep car plants open when all signs say there’s no need for them is completely backward.
The auto industry is dead. So what matters now is making sure cities like Windsor, Oshawa and St. Thomas all stay alive.
Which other event are u attending?