Business

Merulla: Boycott Caterpillar

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 09, 2012

Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla filed a Notice of Motion during yesterday's Council meeting calling on the City to boycott any business relationship with the Caterpillar Corporation in light of the company's recent closure of its London, Ontario plant.

A Notice of Motion gives formal notice to the rest of Council the councillor will introduce the actual motion at a subsequent meeting.

USA-based Caterpillar bought the Canadian Electro-Motive locomotive company in 2010, taking advantage of a $5 million federal subsidy.

Amid record profits, the company demanded a 50 percent pay cut and reduced benefits from the plant's 450 unionized workers. The union rejected the offer and the company locked out the workers at the start of this year.

Last Friday, just 18 months after buying the plant, Caterpillar announced their decision to shutter it. The company will strip the plant's high-tech industrial equipment and move it to a low-wage facility outside Canada.

Last weekend, Mark's Work Wearhouse stopped selling Caterpillar boots at its London stores as a gesture of support.

Here is the full text of Councillor Merulla's motion:

Whereas the Caterpillar Corporation has breached the Investment Canada Act, and has been subsidized by Canadian taxpayers who have been betrayed by the closure of its Caterpillar Plant in London, Ontario.

Therefore be it resolved:

That the City of Hamilton review its policy related to any business relationship with the Caterpillar Corporation and boycott Caterpillar and encourage all Hamilton, Ontario and Canadian businesses from doing business with the Caterpillar Corporation.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 13:48:38

Hamiltonians have already felt the sting of an American corp. going after workers, so good on Sam.

Though, I'm curious as to what business the City actually does w/ Caterpillar...

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 14:01:14 in reply to Comment 74091

Just one thing I found quickly:

Glanbrook Landfill Gas To Energy Facility

The two generator sets are manufactured by Caterpillar and will run 24 hours a day, 7 hours a week.

or http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/FAE4... , http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/2EAB...

Kudos Clr Merulla.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-02-09 14:06:11

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 14:09:46 in reply to Comment 74093

Nice find, Larry.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 13:56:13

Last weekend, Mark's Work Wearhouse stopped selling Caterpillar boots at its London stores as a gesture of support.

People keep mentioning this... a conglomerate stopped selling one vaguely-related brand of apparel at one of their chains in one city. It's not like they stopped selling them at all MWW stores nationwide... I mean, MWW is a subsidiary of Canadian Tire. Does Canadian Tire sell Cat products? Or PartSource, another subsidiary? I'd wager they do.

This is a lot of PR they're getting for a very small move.

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By Caterpillar (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 14:51:10

Easily the most ridiculous position for our government to take. What could this cost us in breaching existing contracts, replacement of equipment, and the loss of potential bidders on future tenders? All for this knee-jerk reaction from our fine elected officials over an issue that has little to no impact on our city. Are we still boycotting Westinghouse appliances or Rheem water heaters?

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 16:22:31 in reply to Comment 74098

Quote,"Are we still boycotting Westinghouse appliances or Rheem water heaters?"

Gee, I hope so!

Doesn't what Caterpillar did constitute a breach of faith, if not a breach of contract?

We should all be angry about the "take the money & run" attitudes of U.S. companies that carpet bag in Canada.

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By rod (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 13:26:28 in reply to Comment 74098

I agree boycott every caterpillar product from coast to coast. We will not use any contractors using caterpillar equipment. It is time we send a clear message that taking our tax dollars will not be rewARDED BY BUSINESS AS USUAL

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 15:28:31 in reply to Comment 74098

I wouldn't think this has anything to do with going out and replacing all of our existing equipment or telling every city employee to throw out their Catperpillar boots, and more about new purchases.

I don't know the full history behind Westinghouse but I believe they were very good community partners. I am not sure there is any (or many) similarities here. This isn't Canada versus the US even though a couple of recent examples make it seem as such. It's a foreign investor taking advantage of tax payer incentives then stripping all of these jobs from Canada all for what is likely/possibly related to the 'Buy America' fiasco down south. That is about US vs. Canada.

We need to not allow this to happen again and I think by setting an example of how we will treat these companies going forward, might just have the ability to start change. The federal government is really the one that needs to give it's head a shake but onus should still be on business to act in good faith and not look for loopholes in our system, make some bonus cash and say see ya when it's obvious they really had no plan on staying here in the first place.

These companies are setting a precedents leaving because our wages are too high. We perhaps as a global economy, should determine what these types of jobs - maybe all jobs, are really worth and that is the cost of manufacturing. Product quality and business relationships need to be what decisions are based on. Not cost. That viscous circle has to stop. A coffee should cost the same. Organic shouldn't mean expensive. Taste, presentation, customer service, the companies presence in the community, should all be what our purchasing is based off of. I want to buy a product from a person/company I believe in and that I feel ads great value to our communities. I want to know they have their employees best interest at heart first and from there, are doing a good job at marketing why customers should by there based on these factors - not lowest prices guaranteed.

Lower prices! Slash! Even lower prices. Slash. Slash

Only problem is so are wages. Jobs. True value. Cost of living. The ability to eat healthy food and buy safe products because all we can afford on these slashed wages are fast food and dollar store crap.

Then governments put forth all these rules that make it so you can't even raise your own chicken to eat healthy and save money, or the cots of running farms sky rockets because of bureaucracy so local options are becoming less and less. Our ability to chose local or Ontario or Made in Canada products, dwindling. Our sense of pride in supporting 'our peeps', is being taken away from us by businesses just like this one.

It's kind of like you throwing a snowball at me on the playground yesterday and 'shooting my eye out', and getting a slap on the wrist - or just a 'hey, they wasn't nice as in this case'. We'll replace snowball with US Steel. Then a new law is put into place today and tomorrow I throw a snowball at you and I shoot your eye out (I'm Caterpillar), but now I am not allowed to go out for recess the rest of the year - well back in the day it was the strap and no eyes fell out but how about 'eyes falling out' symbolizes jobs. :)

It wasn't okay yesterday and it still wasn't okay today but someone finally had the private parts to stand up and say NO MORE and change the rules and the reprimand.

Caterpillar may be one of many doing much the same thing, but someone needs to be the example of what the fall-out for being a bad community partner is going forward.

What if Hamilton was an early leader for something major. From one or two London stores (not sure how many we are talking about here), to an entire City, to ... What if this spread across Ontario or Canada for that matter? Maybe globally in response to how they may have treated jobs in other countries they do business in and their reach is pretty substantial.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-02-09 16:26:40

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By And Yet (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 15:15:51

And yet people were all upset that Labatt's actually kept the Lakeport brand alive and simply moved operations to a more efficient faciltiy. In Canada.

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By Just saying (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 16:01:36

A boycott is one tool, given the fact the the corporate is vertical, meaning it would probably be many companies that sell their products. But it is not enough, more direct action is necessary.

People should be thinking about building solidarity with these workers and families for the gruesome struggle they are facing.

They are going to have to fight just for severance pays, which they are entitled to, the loss of good paying jobs, which contribute to the tax bases, which will ultimately let them cut social programs, which the unemployed, those who cannot find work, with nothing.







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By Guildford (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 18:04:06

Why not just make social justice part of the quadruple-bottom-line criteria?

Or... why not just invest in our own companies?

http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/full-comment/blog.html?b=fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/02/06/caterpillar-electro-motive-diesel

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 10, 2012 at 10:27:09 in reply to Comment 74112

Great link and some compelling statements from you Guildford. This idea of course is very knee jerk and obviously there are so many things at stake but then again, how does a movement such as this, bring us together as we talk about what this all means and what we have to be better at going forward with supporting local, Canadian business. Should we start our own 'Buy Canadian' policy? Can we even do that with how dominated we are by American investment.

Maybe rather than a boycott, council supports a new local startup that is dedicated to a buy local, buy Canadian mindset - inspired by these recent brutal US Steel/Caterpillar realities.

How we can alter our lives to be better at this. The importance, the easy every day things we can do to stop the viscous cycle. How planning our shopping days better will help enable us the 'luxury' of shopping at the farmer's markets and Ottawa Streets of our cities so that our need to go to one place to save time and money, becomes less and less of a need and desire.

To promote the costs of saving money on a piece of Caterpillar equipment made by low wage, dispensable workers, or Made in China 'it may be cheap but it won't last 5 minutes' junk.

A site that teaches us how to walk into a grocery store or a retail outlet and feel good about what we know about what we are supporting. To walk out rewarded with the pleasure of knowing exactly to the penny, where our money just went and how that one shopping experience, just made the world a better place and maybe I can't afford to go for Steak and Lobster at a 5 start restaurant after paying a couple of extra bucks on my grocery bill, but I'll go home knowing the farmer who raised the meat and vegetables I am going to enjoy and the baker who made the bread and and conversed with the person who hand picked the grapes, and will have shaken the hand of the owner of the vineyard where the wine we will enjoy with dinner, was made.

The music we'll listen to over dinner was sung by someone I met at a little James Street Art Crawl gig and the studio it was produced in, my band had had the pleasure of cutting a track or two in ourselves to have something as a keepsake for my own children one day.

Maybe even the record player the 'made in the new hot spot for record manufacturing' record is spinning on is made in this city that suddenly became a place where many such creative/niche things are being made.

The movie we end our evening curled up on the couch with later on was made in one of many new studios that have moved here in all the old abandoned factories. Maybe US Steel leaves and breaks our hearts and scares us and alters our lives but suddenly these places become niche purchases for movie filmhouses as perfect sound studios and we cover our waterfront with old trees to create pollution and site barriers between these new startups, maybe even waterfront hotela and condos, and existing factories that are becoming a dying bread.

Maybe the television the movie is watched on was made in China but we better understand where in China it came from and that the wages and work environments meet our own standards and we didn't buy it because it was the cheapest because we could make it for around the same or even less here in Canada but we bought it because they simply are the best at making these items and we have good relationships with them.

We suddenly become a very big city but we care enough about nature and people that we also finally set some urban boundaries in place so subdivisions can never come within two km's of our Binbrook's and Valen's and because our biggest asset we finally realize, is that we are a highly attractive place to live most importantly, because we can drive 10 or 15 minutes from our cities core and be amongst nature and smells of manure. We finally realize that that is what sets us aside from Toronto not as a better place, but as a different place. Aerotropolis and escarpment highways are trashed and we realize if people want proximately to airports and easy access out of here, get out of here. We finally have an identity and people are happier and healthier and we no longer have to fight like dogs to preserve and save the things we know are our biggest selling features because the leaders of our city, finally get it too.

This 500,000 person city, gets smaller and smaller and I can hardly walk any city street, without running into someone I know because of the way our community has come together to get to know one another and fight to make sure all of our needs - basic and dreams, are met in some way shape or form.

Maybe it's knee jerk, but if it brings us together as fighting for something we believe in does, than if council decides this is something worth fighting, I am behind them but yes, even more so let's create jobs ourselves and stop needing the big guys coming in to save us only to cut our throats and walk away in the next breath.

Don't all the inspirationalist motivators tell us that we hold our destiny's in our own hands? To be the change we want to see? It's not enough to just boycott. We have to go out and create some jobs ourselves so when possibly the fall-out of this boycott means the Stoney Creek and other shops fall as a result of a chain reaction, more families aren't hurt by even more jobs leaving this city we are trying to rebuild.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-02-10 10:48:20

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 23:44:55

Geez, a bone-headed move like that will cost taxpayers a fortune. Cat is a huge manufacturer of not just Cat heavy equipment but engines found in different make of dump trucks and other heavy equipment. Some of those Ford/Freightliner/Peterbuilt/Kenworth/Volvo/ etc piece of heavy equipment are run with Cat engines. I wonder what our local Cat dealer whom employees many people in Stoney Creek and probably pays taxes through the nose would have to say if they lost the City of Hamilton's business...........perhaps another shuttered company in the City. I wouldn't stay! Merulla needs to think before he speaks.

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By tanya (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 07:23:52

grow some balls people...stand up for each other before you find yourself at the food line

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By Guildford (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 08:00:18

I suspect that a Buy Local policy would probably shutter 99.99% of retailers in the city. Outside of a handful of farmers' market stalls, a swank restaurant or two and maybe a couple of craft galleries, new local businesses are exclusively local in their wares. It'd be slightly better for Buy Ontario or Buy Canadian, but I think it's still something where we'd do well to reach consensus on policy and principle rationally, not as a knee-jerk response. Simplifies the stakes for everyone.

Caterpillar was a bad actor. The unions knew that better than anyone, and they knew it a long time ago. The company was anti-union even before NAFTA, which was just water on a gremlin.

If you're the virgin fiancee of a well-known serial adulterer, it's one thing to have the optimism that they'll stay celebate until marriage and another enough to feign shock when they start sleeping with your neighbour.

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By RB (registered) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 13:35:00

Sorta related... sorta not:

If we adopted a "Made in Canada" policy (or just generally shift more in that direction; a more grass-roots approach) over time, I'd imagine that Canadian business's would eventually fill the void left by non-Canadian business for whom we stopped purchasing from.

I'm no expert on this, but I hear of folks talking about "many business would leave" and "jobs would be lost, cause of shuttering of non-Canadian firms operating in Canada & therefore employ Canadians", which is both true, but over time, those positions would be filled by Canadians. It's not like we're not smart enough to build our own cars... it just might take some time.

So it seems to me, IMO, that there would be a few bumps, but over time, things would smooth out and then we'd be rid of (or reduce) the threat of non-Canadian pull-outs like the Cat thing.

Like I said, I don't know all the details (I'm not an economist), but it seems this route would be better in the long term.

Suggestions?

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By Ministry (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 11:27:38 in reply to Comment 74157

Too late for that. The way our Federal government is headed "Buy Chinese" is what we'll be left with. Welcome to the new world order.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 15:32:34 in reply to Comment 74157

If we want tons of jobs, we could have them, but we need to drop our irrational fear of the federal debt.

The federal debt is not a debt our children will owe, it is their inheritance. It is a gift that the feds have given us by spending more than they have taxed us.

Think about it...

When the government spends money, that money ends up in private bank accounts (nurses, teachers, pensioners, etc).

When the government taxes Canadians, it takes money out of our bank accounts, thus depleting our savings.

As for how this affects the job picture, ask yourself why FedEx hires more workers over Christmas? It's not because they're feeling festive, it's because they have more orders to ship things.

Businesses hire when they NEED workers.

The ONLY reason we have a lack of jobs is because people aren't spending enough. That's why the Bank of Canada keeps rates low, to encourage spending.

The problem with low interest rates is that eventually they hit a limit and that is 0%. We are currently at 1% for the target rate.

In other words, monetary policy will soon be irrelevant as Canadians find themselves with debt they can't pay, regardless of the interest rate.

A better idea is to cut taxes.

If the feds did this, people could use the extra money to either pay down bank debt and/or increase spending. In other words, by running a higher deficit, we could put more people back to work, while also reducing risk to the banking sector.

Furthermore, because federal debt is issued in Canadian dollars, the only risk would be currency devaluation, not insolvency, as we have been led to believe.

I don't know about you, but I could live with a 90 cent dollar, if it meant 4% unemployment and plenty of jobs to go around, rather than 8.1% unemployment and a dollar at parity.

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By confused (anonymous) | Posted February 12, 2012 at 16:12:06 in reply to Comment 74162

"The federal debt is not a debt our children will owe, it is their inheritance. It is a gift that the feds have given us"

Don't know if I should laugh or cry when I read stuff like this.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 12, 2012 at 18:16:18 in reply to Comment 74258

This is from the Bank of Canada...

http://www.bankofcanada.ca/about/what-we-do/funds-management/

Debt Management

The government's public debt (also called domestic debt or federal debt) consists largely of outstanding government securities, such as treasury bills and marketable bonds.

The Bank provides policy advice to the government on the efficient management of this debt and sells the securities at auction to financial market distributors and dealers. The main goal of the Bank's debt-management activities is to help provide stable and low-cost funding to the government.

Did you get that?

The MAIN GOAL... is to provide stable and low cost funding to the government.

In other words, the Bank of Canada uses its power to PRINT money and set interest rates (by purchasing and selling bonds) to ensure LOW COST funds for the feds to spend.

The Bank of Canada is also the feds banker...

"The Bank manages the accounts of the Receiver General, through which almost all money collected and spent by the government flows. The Bank ensures that these accounts have enough cash to meet daily requirements and invests any surpluses in term deposits."

Please answer this...

If the Bank of Canada didn't print money and then allow the feds to spend it, where would Canadians get the money to buy the bonds in the first place?

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By weird economics (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 09:43:43 in reply to Comment 74162

Ok, so we settle for a 90 cent dollar to get lower unemployment. But then we keep all the bad habits that got us to 8% employment. So we lower the dollar to 80 cents to get lower unemployment. But we continue to avoid addressing our bad habits. So we settle for a 70 cent dollar... Where do you stop?

We could eventually elect someone who will address the problem but we won't. Because sadly the problems are not ones any of us want to talk about, as it would involve fewer regulations (the evil untrustworthy businessmen will run amok!), and less of a social net for young healthy workers (the poverty! the unfairness!), and higher standards in our schools (the cruelty to those students who aren't willing to learn enough to get the A's the hardworking students earn!).

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:45:04 in reply to Comment 74176

it would involve fewer regulations (the evil untrustworthy businessmen will run amok!), and less of a social net for young healthy workers...

So you mean all the reduction of regulations that has been going on for decades, (even if we just start at the Reagan/Mulroney era), and the corresponding reduction in our social net over those same decades hasn't worked??? So let's do it some more? That's your solution?

I love when people pretend this isn't what HAS been going on for 30+ years and HASN'T helped. It is in fact one of the REASONS we are in the predicament we are in.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 10, 2012 at 14:12:59

This isn't about a broad policy of protectionism, it's about not using public funds to pay for a corporation which has treated a nearby workforce abysmally. The Caterpillar corporation has a horrible record for this kind of thing, and that's not something we should be rewarding. This kind of solidarity is the only reason we have a labour movement today, and it's the only way we'll have one tomorrow.

Bravo, Mr Merulla.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 14:18:54 in reply to Comment 74160

>> This isn't about a broad policy of protectionism, it's about not using public funds to pay for a corporation which has treated a nearby workforce abysmally.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/the-economists/the-5-million-electro-motive-subsidy-that-wasnt/article2329659/

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By the invisible hand (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 15:52:23

Don't ask Leftards to bother with facts and reason.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/the-economists/the-5-million-electro-motive-subsidy-that-wasnt/article2329659/

I reposted A Smith's link. Thanks for showing that the liberal media will stop at nothing, even making up lies and passing it off at fact. I think the PMO should be suing the Star.

As for Merulla it looks like his grandstanding has totally failed. If the CAW even bothered to negotiate lower wages the plant would be there. 50-60% of your pay is better than 100% of zero. Guess what these workers next jobs will pay? Not 70k I can tell you that.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:52:17 in reply to Comment 74164

Don't ask Leftards to bother with facts and reason.

Actually, scientific studies have shown it is the "conservatives" that struggle with facts and reason. Go figure.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2012-02-14 09:53:09

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By Rebecca Doll (anonymous) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 11:15:42

Why don't we stop giving for-profit companies public money?

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 14:16:24

Caterpillar doesn't want this plant and never did. The wage "issue" is a red herring they can use to close it down. In reality when you are building this type of equipment the workers' wages are a remarkably small fraction of the actual cost of manufacturing and delivery.

Some "journalists" from our major papers should do some actual investigating into the planned destruction of the North American manufacturing economy rather than just reprinting corporate press releases and discussing the issue in the context created by said press releases. And who knows, while they're at it maybe they'll also find the reason Stelco will never produce steel again.

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted February 11, 2012 at 16:27:47 in reply to Comment 74208

Very good post Kiely!

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By Chevron (anonymous) | Posted February 12, 2012 at 07:00:43

If this $5-million is seen as a subsidy, we should not see it as one that went to Electro-Motive Diesel, for two reasons:

1. The benefits of the $5-million were split between the purchasers of locomotives and the manufacturers.

2. The benefits that went to manufacturers went to all manufacturers, regardless of their location. If a Canadian company bought a locomotive from the GE plant in Erie, Pa., they were eligible for the higher CCA rate. Much of this subsidy, in fact, would have gone to locomotives produced outside of Canada, as Electro-Motive has only a 30 per cent North American market share in diesel locomotives.

The notion that Electro-Motive was given a $5-million tax break or subsidy to create jobs in Canada simply does not hold up to scrutiny. We need to put this myth to rest.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/the-economists/the-5-million-electro-motive-subsidy-that-wasnt/article2329659/

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 13:42:50 in reply to Comment 74248

I read that link about the $5 million subsidy well before Smith and company posted it. Doesn't change anything. They still bought the company, locked out the workers under threat of a 50%+ wage cut then shut it down.

There is a very clear international attack on worker's rights happening here, and pretending it isn't happening is simply taking a side.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2012 at 14:18:13 in reply to Comment 74286

What's your solution?

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2012 at 22:51:57 in reply to Comment 74289

Occupy the plant. Exactly what the CAW threatened to do the other day. At worst they stall the fire-sale of it's assets and cause Caterpillar a lot of headaches. At best they return it to production as a co-operative and inspire others to do the same. Either way they give large companies a good reason to stop doing this, because this is hardly the first time in recent local memory.

If multinational corporations are going to keep shutting down functional plants right next to the large unemployed (and angry) skilled workforces they create, it's only a matter of time before this happens, as it already has in so many other places.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:21:05 in reply to Comment 74304

>> If multinational corporations are going to keep shutting down functional plants

And this is where I agree with you. We need jobs and lots of them.

And that's why the MYTH of the federal deficit is such a maddening issue. In reality, the feds can spend whatever amount of money they want, and never collect a penny in taxes to do it. It's all done electronically.

Of course, if the feds started spending money like crazy, eventually we would get massive inflation. Bad idea.

However, when Canada has excess capacity in terms of workers and plant/equipment, it is wise to run a deficit, because it ensures that the real production of goods and services keeps growing.

The deficit in this case is just a tool to create wealth, no more, no less.

Once we start looking at the the federal deficit as a tool for growth, rather than a disease, Canada will have a thriving economy, filled with jobs. Unfortunately, that will require us to start using our brains, rather than accepting what the "elite" have been telling us for decade and still continue to.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:57:02 in reply to Comment 74304

At best they return it to production as a co-operative and inspire others to do the same.

Love the chutzpa Undustrial, but sadly they would have no suppliers. Let's not assume fairness here ; )

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2012 at 09:43:59 in reply to Comment 74304

>> At worst they stall the fire-sale of it's assets and cause Caterpillar a lot of headaches.

You used the word "IT'S". This means you recognize that the equipment doesn't belong to the workers, but the shareholders of Caterpillar.

>> At best they return it to production as a co-operative and inspire others to do the same.

And how do you think businesses looking to expand their production would react to this?

My guess is that they would take their money elsewhere, leaving Canada looking like Cuba, picturesque, but devoid of any new capital stock.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 11:16:46 in reply to Comment 74327

The point is that "businesses" aren't looking to expand their production here. They're looking to loot existing production for assets and contracts they can shift to cheaper regions. The fact that corporate ownership is so flaky and flighty these days only goes to show how irrelevant is is in practical terms to the process itself.

Sadly, I don't know that this holds as much immediate promise as, say, the old Lakeport plant would have, in terms of selling the product. I prefer to think of such things as "diversifying holdings for the long term". If this happens more than a few times, the network would be well-served by such heavy manufacturing abilities. In any case, it's about a lot more than just immediate sales potential.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2012 at 06:00:18 in reply to Comment 74304

Obligatory link: http://www.thetake.org/

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2012 at 13:05:17

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By HurtingToromontnotCAT (anonymous) | Posted March 02, 2012 at 13:58:33

Toromont is the Caterpillar distributor in Hamilton and also owns the Battlefield Equipment Rental store in Winona.

The group of people working out of these two locations are, with few exceptions, all residents of the Greater Hamilton area. I have yet to find a group of people who are more focused on the needs of their customers . Based on my experience at Toromont in different roles, I can tell you this. There isn't a single act you or my elected council could enact that would affect Caterpillar in any way. Toromont is a distributor of Caterpillar equipment in the same way that Mohawk Ford is as a distributor of Ford cars. They do not tell Ford to do anything, Ford tells them how it will be and that's the way it works at Toromont.

Did Mr. Merulla suggest similar action against John Deere when they closed their plant in Welland? I cannot find anything that suggests that he did. I stand to be corrected.

When other foreign owned companies in Hamilton were laying off employees and closing operations during the recession. Toromont did not lay off one employee in this area.

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