Canada auto union reaches deal with GM

September 21, 2012
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Dan Akerson, Chief Executive of GM unveils the Chevrolet Sonic at the 2011 North America International Auto Show/XINHUA-File
MONTREAL, Sep 21 – The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, which reached an agreement earlier this week with Ford, has now struck a deal with GM that will preserve full employment as well as create 1,750 new jobs.

“We finally reached a tentative agreement,” CAW President Ken Lewenza told reporters in Toronto, adding that workers had maintained their benefits as management had agreed to a “new, higher proposal.”

He then turned to Chrysler, calling on it to “get serious” and adopt the pattern agreement reached with the other two automakers.

Under so-called pattern bargaining, the union seeks a deal with one auto company and then asks for identical terms from the other two in order to remove labor costs from the competition formula in the auto sector.

“This was a difficult couple of days,” said Lewenza, whose union had threatened to strike if its demands were not met.

The GM deal must still be approved by the company’s 5,600 Canadian employees, who are expected to hold a vote this weekend.

The Ford deal includes no base wage increases for workers, but they will get a cost of living increase of about CAN$2,000 (US$2,050) to be paid out at contract’s end in September 2016.

Lewenza also said Ford plans to add 600 jobs at its Canadian plants by 2016.

The CAW currently represents 21,000 workers at Ford, GM and Chrysler.

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