NUPGE urging members and supporters across Canada to support the campaign
Ottawa (7 March 2007) - Thousands of people are signing an online petition to pressure the Hershey Co. to reverse its decision to close down its Canadian plant in Smiths Falls and move operations to Monterrey, Mexico.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) supports the petition and is urging members, families and friends across the country to add their names to the list. The petition can be signed at this web address:
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has said he is willing to negotiate with the company to find a way to keep the plant operating but so far there is not much indication that the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer is interested in changing its mind.
The company, which has operated a successful plant in Smiths Falls for 44 years, confirmed last month that it plans to begin closing the plant later this year and to complete the phase-out by 2008.
Five hundred direct jobs would be lost and the spin-off effect will be far greater on the town of 9,000, located about 100 kilometres southwest of Ottawa. The community has suffered a string of economic blows in recent years, including the announced closure of the provincially-operated Rideau Regional Centre.
The Hershey plant has always been a solid money-maker but the company now wants to move to a cheaper labour location in Mexico and make even more money. It estimates it will make up to $200 million more annually through a corporate-wide restructuring - including the Smiths Falls closure.
The announcement has prompted the Ontario New Democratic Party to call for the creation of a provincial jobs commissioner's office with powers to force companies to justify plant closures and explore alternatives before jobs are moved out of the province. NUPGE