The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “electromotive


Posted on February 25, 2012

It’s finally over. What had begun as a labour dispute ended this week in sad resignation.  The workers at ElectroMotive finally reached a severance deal with Caterpillar Inc. There was a touch of grace at the end as the union negotiating team successfully wrestled some benefit from a company that in the end didn’t buckle so much to worker demands as it did to the realization that a community stood behind its own. For those of our beleaguered city who stood with the workers on the line for weeks there is sense of deep and abiding loss that only comes from sharing hardship with others. The workers themselves seized the most opportune of moments and chose to fill it with a kind of dignified…

Grief, Generosity, and a Galvanizing of Community Spirit

Posted on February 7, 2012

What began as a brief comment ended up as a unique citizen exercise. Ed Jackman (look for him in the video below) was in the car with us on the day Caterpillar announced it was shutting down the ElectroMotive plant in London. His concern for our community was obvious, and with a tone of anger and empathy he said quietly, “People need to talk. We should have some kind of meeting or something.” In my community, that’s sometimes all it takes. Within an hour, some of us on the Citizen’s Panel had selected a time and an agenda for the kind of gathering Ed was talking about and last night it all came together. When you see Ed in the video, you’ll experience a…

An End and the Beginning

Posted on February 3, 2012

Well, it’s over. Tears filled our eyes this morning as my wife and I heard that Caterpillar had finally made the decision to cut its workers loose and shut down the plant for good. Jane wondered if I had perhaps invested so much in the lockout over the last few weeks that I hadn’t prepared myself for the news. Perhaps she was right. What to say? Emotionally I can’t stop thinking of where these men, women and children go now. They were locked out, denied Employment Insurance, and now have to negotiate with the very company that walked away from them to get some kind of severance. As we approached the line upon hearing the news there was many hugs and even more tears.…

Until Now

Posted on February 1, 2012

One of the abiding frustrations of being in politics is that optics are often preferred over opportunity and politics sometimes takes priority over people. There were plenty of examples of such frustrations I could list from my time in Ottawa, but a more recent circumstance is perhaps more relevant. The locked out workers at ElectroMotive in London have frequently ruminated on why it is that some politicians feel no qualms about visiting the line in East London, bringing coffee and encouragement, whereas others feel no such inclination. “What’s the difference?” they ask. “Why the distinction?” They ask because they think I’ll know, when in fact I can’t understand it myself. Some hide behind a kind of jurisdictional “smoke and mirrors” argument, whereas others just…

On Being Seen

Posted on January 30, 2012

“Will we be seen, by others I mean?” I looked by at the man who had just asked the question, detecting the veiled fear in his gaze. He is one of the workers locked out of the ElectroMotive plant in London and worry over his family’s future grows with each passing day. It was actually his wife who had phoned me, asking if I would meet the two of them at a small restaurant near the plant itself. She had been pressing her husband to make that call for days, but when he just couldn’t do it she took the initiative for the sake of their two kids. They wanted to talk about how they would access the food bank because that time was…