“I’ve had a few comments,” said regional sales manager Mark Keller. “The show is still young; you never know what might come about.”
Caterpillar Inc. is the machinery and engine corporation that owns Electro-Motive Diesel. After proposing a new contract that would have cut workers’ wages by half, the company locked out workers Jan. 1 and shut the doors of the Oxford St. E. plant in February, putting about 700 people out of a job.
The booth with the company’s latest tractors was set up by a Caterpillar dealer and not the company itself. But still, some people weren’t happy about Caterpillar’s presence.
“I don’t know why they put that sign up; they’re going to have a tough time selling,” said Anton, a farmer who did not wish to disclose his last name.
“The company just closing the door and walking out, that’s not the answer; that’s not the Canadian way,” another farmer said as he walked by.
But some farmers were not soured by the plant’s closure and were rather loyal to the best deal.
“I wouldn’t hesitate if the price was right,” Ralph Bauer said. “They had it coming. We’re supposed to compete in the world market.”
Caterpillar could not be reached for comment.
Written by Eric Clement. Published in The London Free Press, March 8, 2012.