September 21, 2012

Volume 42, No. 32

CAW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Ford Canada

On September 17, CAW negotiators reached a four-year tentative agreement with Ford Canada during which time about 600 new jobs will be created at Ford's Canadian operations.
The new agreement also includes cost of living lump sum payments of $2000 in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as a $3000 bonus on ratification. There are no base wage increases.
COLA wage adjustments are suspended until the final quarter of the agreement with the COLA program coming back into effect in June 2016.There are no changes in pensions for current workers and those who retire during this agreement.
The tentative agreement also rejects the concept of a permanent two-tier wage system. New hires will start at 60 per cent of the current base rate with a 10 year grow in period until reaching the top rate. There is also a restructured pension plan for new hires which is a hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan.
CAW President Ken Lewenza said when the 600 new jobs are taken together with restructuring incentives for senior workers it "will allow every laid-off Ford worker today to have either an employment offer or a decent early retirement."
He said the number one priority is jobs and to "stay in the ballpark" for new investment and to create opportunities for the next generation of autoworker.
He stressed the union would be continuing talks with General Motors and Chrysler based on the tentative agreement reached with Ford. The union has extended the deadline indefinitely with General Motors and Chrysler, and as Contact went to print was still in talks with both companies. If talks stall, the union could give the company a 24-hour notice of work stoppage.
Ratification meetings for CAW members at Ford are scheduled for the weekend of September 22-23.

Labour College of Canada 2013 - Applications now available!


Looking to expand your horizons as a labour union activist? Want to find ways to broaden and strengthen the social justice movement in Canada? If so, then the Labour College of Canada just might be for you!

Since 1963, the Labour College of Canada has been a foundational institution for labour education. Re-designed in 2011, the four-week intensive program offers in-depth analysis on a variety of issues relevant to working people by offering courses like economics, the history of work and the theory and practice of unions, among others. The program also focuses on building research, leadership and communications skills and inspires confidence among participants to play a more active role in the broader social justice movement.Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario and is open to all union members. The CAW has 4 scholarships available that cover tuition, travel, expenses as well as room and board.
Session 1 is scheduled to run from May 4-18, 2013; Session 2 is scheduled to run from August 11-23, 2013.
Labour College of Canada applications can be downloaded at:
The deadline for applications is November 5, 2012
For more information on the 2013 Labour College of Canada program contact

Promoting Work-Life Balance for Retail Workers 

CAW Local 414 is spearheading a city-wide campaign in Toronto to ensure the rights of retail and hospitality workers are protected as the city considers lifting a ban on holiday shopping.

CAW Local 414 President Christine Connor said the city is acting on the request of the local business community who want to open their doors to the public 365 days a year, and that spells trouble for thousands of vulnerable workers.
"Retail workers are already among the most hard-pressed in this economy, with below average wages, constant uncertainty and insecure work schedules," Connor said. "Stripping them of guaranteed time off the job on statutory holidays will be a huge blow to their quality of life and undermine work-life balance."  
Over the past months, local organizers have been raising awareness among the nearly 7000 CAW members working in supermarkets and retail shops across the Greater Toronto Area.
Connor said members have voiced their concerns through the city's online holiday shopping petition as well as at public town hall meetings. The local has also published information material, including a detailed 'Q&A'-style leaflet that's being circulated across workplaces.
Connor worries that retail workers will be intimidated into taking shifts on statutory holidays for fear of employer reprisal even though proponents of the change claim holiday scheduling would remain voluntary. 
City Council is expected to decide on this proposal by the end of October.
For more information, visit:

New Port Elgin Courses This Fall

Looking for new courses in Port Elgin?  Here are a few new programs on the schedule: 
Steps to Successful Campaigns - October 28-November 2: This course will equip our members to support ongoing CAW campaigns as well as understanding the steps to creating successful campaigns in our communities and in our workplaces.
WSIB Claims Strategy - November 18 to 23: For Ontario WSIB reps this new OFL program will provide new strategies for handling claims and an opportunity to network with other activists.
Members in the Middle - A course for Team Leaders, Lead Hands, etc. - December 2-7: Bargaining unit members who also have some supervisory responsibility often are put in the middle.  This course will explore the challenges of that role as well as developing skills and strategies for using the role as a means to building the union.
Funding for Port Elgin courses comes through negotiated Paid Education Leave and/or through a 50/50 cost share with Local Union and the National. 
Visit the CAW Education Department website: for more information on funding of these and other great courses.    
Contact your local union leadership for information on how to apply for courses in Port Elgin or for information on upcoming regional programs.
Download the full fall education schedule at:

CAW Human Rights Conference

The CAW Human Rights Conference will be held November 16 to 18 at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.
Local union leadership, human rights, women and equity representatives, EFAP/substance abuse representatives and bargaining committee representatives are encouraged to attend.
The deadline for registration is October 5, 2012. For more information please contact CAW Human Rights Director Vinay Sharma at 416-718-8469 or email

CAW Group Insurance Gift Card Winners

Congratulations to CAW members Beth Couchman (Local 555), Marc Ross (Local 101) and France Chalifoux (Local 728), recipients of the CAW Group Insurance program gift card draw held at the union's Constitutional and Collective Bargaining Convention on August 23.
The CAW Group Insurance Program is a voluntary auto and home insurance benefit plan available to all CAW active and retired members and their families. The program was launched in the fall of 2006.
Members are able to access home insurance and automobile insurance (except in those provinces where public auto insurance is available). Discounted rates are available and exclusive to CAW members and their families.
CAW Group Insurance Program staff are licensed insurance professionals and members of CAW Local 1524 in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.
For more information (including future contests) and to obtain a quote, visit:

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