Honeywell-CAW action centre to close in May

Honeywell-Canadian Auto Workers Action Centre will be shut down by the end of this May. About 210 laid-off workers are still without jobs.


Honeywell-Canadian Auto Workers Action Centre

The closure of the Honeywell plant in Scarborough in December 2011 led to the layoff of about 240 workers.

The CAW centre was established in Feb. of last year to help laid-off Honeywell workers to be better equipped to re-enter the job market.

Besides providing free workshops and services, the centre has become a home for workers, according to Justine Lilley, coordinator of the centre.

“They are really comfortable here, it is a comfort zone,” Lilley said.

“There aren’t a lot of options, there’s no one calling. I applied for the jobs and I’ve had a few interviews, but again the money wasn’t there.”

– Brendan O’Donnell

The average age of the laid-off workers is between 45 and 50.

“They are mostly women, a lot of them did not have high school, and quite a few are immigrants,” Lilley said.

“There is not many jobs now out there in the manufacturing sector,” said Brendan O’Donnell , a 48-year-old laid-off worker.

“There aren’t a lot of options, there’s no one calling. I applied for the jobs and I’ve had a few interviews, but again the money wasn’t there. You couldn’t survive with the cost of living, then the rent, then cost of gas and insurance; you can’t work for $12 an hour,” he said.

O’Donnell used to be paid for about $20 per hour at Honeywell.  He explained the money he used to make was just to get by, and the cost of living has been going up since the plant’s closure.

“I could maybe go back to school for a year and see what that does,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell finds the centre very helpful and drops in frequently.

So far, 33 of the 240 laid-off workers have found new jobs. Even though there will be no more funding for the centre, Lilley still sees a chance to extend its life.

“I guess if we maybe made a big enough case, it’s still possible. Maybe if things are still really bad by the end of May, maybe, maybe we will say ‘hey, they are not adjusted; people really need a lot of help still.’ Can’t leave them in the lurch right?” she said.