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Reuters / February 24, 2004

TORONTO -- Ford Motor Co. of Canada sent about 3,700 workers home at three Ontario plants Tuesday after some union members supported a strike at Canada's biggest railway by declining to unload rail shipments, Ford spokeswoman Lauren More said.

The move by the Canadian Auto Workers union members led to a parts shortage at the plants, More said.

The Canadian Auto Workers also represents the 5,000 striking Canadian National Railways workers, which account for nearly a quarter of CN Rail's 23,000 employees.

The rail strike started Friday after contract talks failed over wage issues.

"We did have a parts shortage at the assembly plants due to the fact that some Ford CAW members are refusing to handle inbound rail shipments that feed the line," More said.

Ford said 1,200 workers on the day shift at its St. Thomas, Ontario, assembly plant were sent home -- for a second consecutive day -- while 2,500 employees at its two Oakville, Ontario, plants, one of which is a truck plant, also were told to go home.

More said operations at Ford's Windsor, Ontario, plant were running on schedule, and the afternoon shift at the St. Thomas and Oakville car assembly plants were slated to start on time. The Oakville truck plant has one shift.
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