Update: Fleetwood ships out of Alderwood and goes offshore
16/11/09 - We have received surprising news. In January 2010, Fleetwood Fine Furniture will move the balance of its domestic manufacturing to Asia while maintaining its Toronto facility as a ‘Custom Design Centre’. Currently, Fleetwood has offshore operations in Malaysia and this move will see all of their manufacturing shipped offshore. This is surprising since in all our communication with Fleetwood this past year, they gave us no indication that this would happen. In fact, they emphasized that they were very proud of being a Canadian manufacturer and had no intention to move. Certainly, we would have liked to see Fleetwood stay and become a green leader in their community.
Reg Tiessen, the president of Fleetwood told a Toronto Star reporter today that the Good Neighbour Campaign ‘certainly wasn’t a factor’ in their decision to shift manufacturing offshore. Predictably, it’s all about profitability. The opportunity to expand profit margins is often an excuse for large factories to move out of Ontario to lands of cheaper properties and lower paid workers. We are sad to see another Ontario business move out of Toronto, leaving 180 employees out of work. The factory's move to go offshore is just another example of how businesses put profits before people. Unfortunately, this is a lost opportunity for good green jobs in Ontario.
This is a bitter sweet moment for the residents of Alderwood. The furniture factory that's been creating a stink will no longer be a problem. Now the toxic emissions that forced local residents to stay inside on bad days will migrate offshore. This is simply moving the pollution from one place to another.
The upside is that we saw a community come together and mobilize themselves by taking power into their own hands. By believing in the right to clean air for our children, individuals who had never been part of a neighbourhood campaign dedicated themselves to creating a healthier community. It has been inspiring to work with such commitment.
We will continue to monitor and update you with the ongoing changes at this particular property. Thank you for all your time and effort!