Federal Government Stands Aside as More Canadians Lose Manufacturing Jobs

MITCHELL – More than 150 families in Mitchell, Ont., will see their livelihoods disappear as another giant multinational shutters its Canadian operations and moves jobs out of the country.

German-based multinational Continental AG, which only purchased the Mitchell plant last year, plans to close the facility next year, and reportedly shift production to Mexico.

One of the largest employers in this small southwestern Ontario community for more than half a century, the facility conducts research and development and manufactures vibration control products for the auto sector.

“This is hard. The plant has been here for such a long time. It means so much to our families and our community,” said Tania Ziltener, President of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 719, which represents unionized employees at the facility.

Over the years, workers agreed to pay cuts to help the company, while also winning awards for quality production and being recognized for outstanding health and safety records, Ziltener said. Most of the employees have been at the plant their entire working lives, she added.

“We gave up a lot, because we knew how important the plant is to this place, not just to us. And now it’s being taken away,” she said.

“As far as we know, the majority of our work will be going to Mexico.”

Continental AG has numerous subsidiary companies and manufacturing plants in Mexico. Many facilities are able to suppress wages and working conditions through Mexico’s infamous, illegitimate “protection unions” that are controlled by employers to exploit workers.

“Once again, the federal government stays on the sidelines and allows another multinational corporation to take over a Canadian manufacturing plant, shut it down and move jobs to Mexico,” said Marty Warren, the USW’s Ontario Director.

“Another 150 good-paying jobs that help sustain a vibrant community are now set to disappear,” Warren said.

“Rather than condone this cut-and-run behaviour by multinational corporations, the government should be standing up for Canadian workers and defending our manufacturing sector.”

Warren challenged the federal and provincial governments to act decisively to support the workers at the Mitchell facility and other manufacturing plants.

“With the pandemic exposing Canada’s shameful lack of capacity to respond to our domestic manufacturing needs, our governments have an opportunity and an obligation to defend Canadian workers by rebuilding and investing in this sector,” he said.

“There is a productive manufacturing and research and development facility in Mitchell, with skilled, award-winning employees who need support. Will their government help them, or stay on the sidelines and quietly watch their jobs move to Mexico?”


For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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