Bye Bye Buzz

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union president Basil a.k.a. Buzz Hargrove is stepping down early. Although Buzz was expected to retire when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 next year, he's now leaving "soon after" the union selects his successor this summer. His hand-picked heir-apparent is the equally-outspoken not-to-say borderline-militant Ken Lewenza, current president of Windsor, Ontario Local 444. Buzz is leaving amid the controversy we've all come know and love; rumors say the national executive board is pressuring their staff to support Lewenza's bid. The Victoria Times Colonist quotes columnist Gord Henderson, who describes Buzz' golden boy as having a "Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde persona" whose "flights of rhetoric are a wonder to behold, akin to watching Mount Vesuvius blow its stack." So we shouldn't run out of Lutz Award-worthy quotes from north of the border. With Canada's dubious distinction as the highest-priced labor force in the North American and auto industry manufacturers shutting down Canadian plants, Lewenza will have plenty opportunity to display his brand of "old-time table-thumping unionism." So don't go away; we'll be back with more!

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  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jul 09, 2008

    Mikey has that wrong. Buzz has been in bed with the Lieberals for a few years now. He dumped the old NDP union party a few elections ago and the Dippers(NDPer's)kicked him out of the party. Wouldn't surprise me a bit to see Basil run as Lieberal in the next election. Of course by then the Ontario economy thanks to Buzz and premier McGuinty will be down the tubes.

  • Mikey Mikey on Jul 09, 2008

    Whoa! bluecon you think its McGuinty and Buzz are the bad guys?McGuinty been fully suportive of the Ontario car industry from day one. What about the PCs?Well maybe they could have some input,if thier leader held an elected position eh?

  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Jul 09, 2008

    Union democracy! We don't need no stinking membership vote.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jul 10, 2008

    McGuinty is running Ontario and I am holding him responsible for the coming meltdown. And Buzz is so full of it. Like the closing of Oshawa truck was such a surprise? GM converted the Mexican Silao plant to pickup truck production last year. No new transmissions for GM Windsor or new engines for Ford Windsor? Buzz chased away the investment. Buzz is retiring while the CAW members are reaping the sorry results of his leadership. And no it is not the federals government fault that union auto jobs are leaving Ontario. And Lewenza will make it worse.