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September 21, 2007 – 1:00pm

Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton says autoworkers deserve a fair deal. Speaking to autoworkers in Oshawa, Hampton announced a $600 million Auto Strategy that will protect and create thousands of high-paying jobs. Hampton was joined at the GM plant in Oshawa by leaders from CAW Local 222 and local autoworkers.

“Dalton McGuinty has abandoned workers in the manufacturing sector, especially autoworkers,” said Hampton. “He has promised more high-paying jobs in the auto industry but he hasn’t delivered. Instead, Oshawa faces another crippling round of job losses in the coming year. Dalton McGuinty’s programs simply aren’t working.”

In the past decade, the auto assembly and parts industries have lost at least 23,000 high-paying jobs in Ontario. The job-loss picture across Ontario in other sectors is just as bleak. Since McGuinty became premier, Ontario has lost 175,000 jobs in the manufacturing and resource sectors, 52,000 in the past year alone.

Dalton McGuinty found time to give himself a $40,000 raise but he hasn’t found time to help working families that suffer the devastation of losing jobs. Instead, McGuinty says job losses in manufacturing are “inevitable.”

“Job losses for autoworkers and other workers destroy families and communities,” said Hampton. “Oshawa is suffering. It has lost 7,300 auto jobs in the last few years, taking at least $383 million out of the local economy. Now, Oshawa families and small businesses face the loss of another 4,000 jobs.”

The NDP Auto Strategy will create a $600 million fund for investment in the auto sector over five years. The plan will require companies to meet real targets for maintaining and creating jobs, in return for financial assistance from the fund, with money flowing only if job targets are met. The plan would also provide special incentives for companies in the auto sector that develop and manufacture environmental technologies.

“Dalton McGuinty’s wrong. Job losses aren’t ‘inevitable’. Working families can count on the NDP to support workers and their communities,” said Hampton.