For a Premier of Ontario to allow a whole town to basically have it’s industrial guts to be ripped out of it without making some kind of fruitful concession to save it is bordering on being criminal!
We are talking about a hundred year old company that put Leamington on the map as Canada’s Tomato Capital!
740 direct paying jobs eliminated!….how many more hundreds of workers and homeowners will be affected by this is unknown but we all know the “ripple effect” isn’t even talked about when Politician’s open their “pie holes”!
Don’t even suggest this Government couldn’t have made a deal with the owners to offer some help in order to keep this company in Canada!
After all, they spent over a BILLION of our dollars to buy a few seats for their never ending seat beside the tax-payer trough!
Just yesterday they “allowed” a wind turbine developer to go ahead and sue US for over 2.5 BILLION of our tax dollars, so in effect why couldn’t a couple of mill be offered up to save the town of Leamington from becoming another ghost town in South Western Ontario?
So many logical questions ans so few answers from this Government…………………..again………WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY GOOD FOR???????????……………..ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at a press conference following the 2013 Council of the Federation fall meeting in Toronto, Friday November 15, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)
Doug Schmidt Nov 15, 2013
Talks that included Ontario’s premier failed to prevent Heinz’s “devastating” decision to shut down its Leamington plant, leaving 740 full-time workers without a job, The Windsor Star has learned.
“We had open discussions with multiple people in the Ontario government,” Michael Mullen, H.J. Heinz Co.’s senior vice-president corporate & government affairs, told The Star in an email Friday. “Unfortunately, nothing could be done to save the facility in Leamington.”
Speaking in Toronto Friday during a premiers’ conference she was hosting, Wynne acknowledged the talks. “I had had previous conversations a number of times with officials from Heinz, so it’s a huge concern of mine,” she said, referring to Thursday’s shutdown notice.
Neither side would divulge details Friday. That those talks even took place without the knowledge of local officials came as a surprise to both the head of the local development corporation, as well as the union representing most of the workers now facing unemployment by mid-2014.
“It’s very strange,” said WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation CEO Sandra Pupatello. Normally, she said, an important employer seeking government assistance “would have engaged us.”
Pupatello said she began hearing the closure rumours about a week and a half ago. Despite a flurry of messages left with Heinz by herself and Leamington’s mayor, she said the company didn’t get back until shortly before employees were informed of the bad news by company managers Thursday afternoon.
The head of the union representing 600 of Leamington’s Heinz workers said he too was left out of the loop, only being advised of the food processing giant’s closure decision by a manager moments before workers were handed the news.
“I offered to open up the collective agreement if needed,” Rob Crawford, president of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 459, said he told the manager. But it was too late.
“There was no negotiating,” Crawford said, adding the announcement was greeted by workers with shock and sadness.
Local movers and shakers are now scrambling to find a potential saviour for Leamington’s biggest employer and taxpayer, a century-old economic juggernaut whose disappearance, local leaders fear, could send local economies reeling.
There’s been an immediate impact — Crawford said layoff notices have already gone out to seven Heinz employees in the traffic department, and there are reports of car dealers having purchase orders for new vehicles cancelled by worried workers.
“These are our families in our own backyard, they’re our neighbours — that galvanizes us to work so much harder,” said WEEDC’s Pupatello.
No sooner did Leamington Mayor John Paterson receive the dreaded phone call Thursday afternoon — Pupatello and other grim-faced area leaders at his side — than the calls from potential investors started coming in, she said.
“Our first concern is taking care of those employees,” Pupatello said of initial talks with the company that have already begun. Even before the worst was confirmed, she said calls went out to numerous regional, provincial and federal agencies, offices and ministries seeking assistance.
Wynne may not have been able to prevent Black Thursday, but she and key ministers have indicated the province is willing to help going forward.
“Can there be an option and a future for that plant? My hope is yes, my hope is we will be able to broker something,” Wynne said Friday. “I don’t know what the possibilities are there, but believe me, we will be trying to find a way to transform that,” she added.
“The Ontario government will absolutely work in tandem with the local community to attract potential new investors,” a spokesman for Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment Eric Hoskins added in an email.