January 17, 2005
CAW donations generate $2.1 million for Tsunami disaster
CAW National President Buzz Hargrove announced the CAW and its 265,000 members have generated
donations totalling $2.1 million for tsunami relief.
The money, a record amount for the CAW, has been raised by members through plant gate collections,
individual donations, other workplace initiatives as well as from Local Union donations and matching funds
from the CAW National Union.
“The destruction caused by the tsunami in south Asia is almost too massive to comprehend,” Hargrove said.
“CAW members and CAW Local Unions across the country have pitched in with donations raised through
plant gate collections and other workplace initiatives. The money donated so far is the largest amount ever
given to any cause by our membership and our locals and is the largest amount donated to help with this
crisis by any union around the world.” Hargrove presented a cheque for $800,000 to the Canadian Red
Cross for immediate tsunami relief. The $800,000 will generate $1.1 million because the federal government
will match dollar for dollar the more than $300,000 of the total raised through individual donations. The
remaining $500,000 was raised through CAW Local Union donations and matching funds from the CAW
John Mulvihill, Canadian Red Cross Deputy Secretary General - Operations said, “We’ve always enjoyed
incredible support from the CAW and its membership in times of need. For the CAW to come forward again
with a donation of this size is a powerful testament for the way the CAW and all its members care for the
plight of others. We’re honoured the CAW has selected the Red Cross as the agency by which assistance
will be delivered to victims of this disaster. We promise we won’t let CAW members down as we help to
The CAW has also earmarked additional monies of up to $1 million for longer term development projects in
countries hard hit by the tsunami. If further matching funds are contributed from CIDA (Canadian
International Development Agency) the total donation for long-term development generated by the CAW
could be much higher.
Sale of GM Locomotive Plant in London, Ontario
On January 12, 2005, General Motors announced the sale of its diesel-electric locomotive division,
General Motors Electro-Motive Division (GM EMD) to the Greenbriar Equity Group and Berkshire Partners.
GM EMD is the world's largest builder of diesel-electric locomotives for commercial railroad applications:
intercity passenger, commuter, freight, switching, industrial and mining. They are suppliers to Canada’s two
largest railways, CN and CP.
The company's headquarters, engineering facilities and parts-manufacturing operations are located in
LaGrange, Illinois, just west of Chicago. Final assembly is conducted at GM EMD's state-of-the-art plant at
London, Ontario, from which GM EMD products are exported to customers around the world.
"The sale is positive news for workers at GM’s locomotive manufacturing plant in London. It ends years of
uncertainty for CAW members and the community," says CAW President Buzz Hargrove.
Hargrove told the London Free Press newspaper that Greenbriar has indicated it plans to invest in the
facility. “We have someone buying it who wants to build, who has a business plan and commitment,”
Hargrove said. “That is good for our members.”
CAW Local 27 represents more than 650 workers at the plant. There are 300 non-union workers at the
facility. GM Electro-Motive builds about 300 locomotives each year, which are valued between $1.4 to $1.9
Hargrove said the important news is that there is a commitment to CAW members and the business. “GM is
winding down operations other than its mainstream vehicles and there has been less money available for
Berkshire Partners is not new to the railway industry. In 1987, Berkshire acquired the Lake States Division
of the Soo Line Railroad, forming the Wisconsin Central Transportation Corporation (WCTC). It was the
United States largest regional railroad and a vital shipping resource for the paper industry in Wisconsin and
Michigan. In 2001, Wisconsin Central was acquired by CN.
In October 1993, Berkshire joined WCTC and the merchant banking firm of Fay, Richwhite & Cie to form
Tranz Rail Ltd., which then acquired New Zealand Rail from the government of New Zealand. Tranz Rail,
the only railroad in New Zealand, provides both freight and passenger service, and operates the only
scheduled ferry service linking the country's outlying islands.
In late 1995, the same group organized English Welsh & Scottish Railway Ltd. to acquire the rail freight
operations of British Rail.
The group collaborated again in November 1997, organizing Australian Transport Network (ATN) to execute
a build-up of various state-owned railways in Australia. ATN made its first investment in late 1997 with the
acquisition of Tasrail in Tasmania.
Source: CAW News Now / Berkshire Partners / GM EMD
It’s a small world after all:
The corporate world is becoming much wealthier, with many companies diversifying and buying other
conglomerates to become even bigger. Yet, in a way, the corporate world today seems to be a very small
Former CN Sr. Vice President for Eastern Canada, Keith Heller, is now the CEO for the English Welsh &
Scottish Railway (EWS) after retiring from CN. The EWS Railway is now the largest rail operator in Britain,
and was formed by Berkshire Partners when taking over British Rail in 1996. Berkshire Partners sold the
Wisconsin Central to CN in 2001, which in turn holds large shares in CN. Is it a small world, or just one big -
rich - happy family looking out for one another?
|National Council 4000