Video: Workers at Closing Factory Call for Government Help
Labour leaders and workers at the former Christie's Plant in Etobicoke are calling on city council and the provincial government to save the factory from closure next year.
Mondelez Canada announced last week it would be closing the plant, leaving 550 people out of work, with plans to build condos on the site.
"It's not making any sense to us why they need more condos," says Bruce Adams who works at the plant with his wife. He's logged more than 30 years of service, following in the footsteps of his father, who also worked at the facility. "They're going to lose 550 jobs to put up condos that nobody is going to live in. Who can afford to live in them? Certainly not us."
Many workers at the plant are in their 40s and say they don't know what comes next, calling on all levels of government to protect manufacturing jobs in the city.
Mike is 28 but also finds himself wondering about the future. He's already logged 10 years of service at the factory.
"My grandmother worked here for 40 years, my mom and dad (worked) 40. I assumed I would do the same. I came to work every day motivated and now I'm not sure what to do."
Even if council rejects the proposal for the site, the Ontario Municipal Board would make the final call, so labour leaders are calling on Queen's Park to step in before it comes down to that scenario.
"By declaring a provincial interest they (Queen's Park) can put a stop to the OMB doing what the developers want rather than what the city needs," says John Cartwright, President of the Toronto Labour Council.
Workers say they can't see why they should be put out of work to build more condos, saying if more jobs are lost, it's going to hurt the city in the long run.
Steelworkers Toronto President Carolyn Egan says across the city we've seen industrial land disappear for residential space.
"This is not right. Our members are concerned. We have thousands in our job action centre looking for decent manufacturing jobs. We're here to ask the mayor, the city council, to do what they can to maintain good manufacturing jobs in the city."