Truck manufacturer still on strike in Ontario

| 3/20/2006

Employees of Sterling Trucks in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, remain on strike this week seeking, among other things, job security when the 2007 emissions standards take effect.

Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union – about 2,000 strong at the St. Thomas plant – walked off the job March 14. They don’t want to see their jobs go to the U.S. or Mexico because of anticipated increases in costs associated with the production of 2007 vehicles. Rumors are flying that changes to meet ’07 emissions standards will raise truck prices by $10,000 per vehicle.

Talks between union negotiators and Sterling, which is owned by Freightliner, broke down late last week after the two sides failed to see eye-to-eye on wages and benefits, according to The Canadian Press.

Truck sales in many classes, particularly Class 8, are soaring ahead of the cost shift and new standards, similar to what happened ahead of the 2002 changes. Citing information from Wall Street the Chicago Tribune reported that the 2007 standards will be another “cliff event” like in 2002.

The Sterling plant in St. Thomas manufactures HX heavy-duty trucks and the Acterra medium-duty truck, along with steel wheels for several classes of commercial vehicles.