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Cement company picketed by Bowmanville strikers

June 30th, 2010

Frustrated by a lack of action at the bargaining table during a strike in its 16th week, miners from CBM/St. Marys cement manufacturing plant in Bowmanville brought their protest to the company’s Windsor location on Tuesday.

Members of CAW Local 222 — backed by about a dozen local union officials and supporters — slowed cement trucks throughout the day from entering St. Marys’ riverfront Russell Street plant location on the city’s west end for 15 minutes each.

The company is one of Canada’s largest quarry, gravel and cement operations. Almost 90 workers in Bowmanville have been without a contract since Jan. 31 and have been fighting changes to their pension plan.

There have been no talks since the strike started in mid-March. Local St. Marys employees are Teamsters members and not part of the strike.

“What we are hoping to do is get the company’s attention,” said Enzo Vizza, a member of the bargaining committee in Bowmanville who was leading the rally in Windsor. “We don’t want a raise and just hold the contract the way it is.”

Problems with the company started when it was purchased about six years ago by a corporation based in San Paolo, Brazil, Vizza said.

The pension plan of the workers has been defined, so what they were expecting to receive is predetermined. But the corporation is seeking changes that could bump the current prospect of receiving $44,000 annually in retirement to as low as $7,900, Vizza said.

“They say it’s a cultural change and they are going to change the way to do business here,” he said. “We want people across the province to know there are 87 families in real jeopardy in Bowmanville as a result of this foreign company.”

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