September 28, 2012

Volume 42, No 33

Ford Workers Approve New Deal

CAW President Ken Lewenza addresses Ford workers in Windsor on September 23.






CAW members at Ford have approved a new four-year collective agreement by 82 per cent. Voting took place at a series of ratification meetings September 22 and September 23 in Hamilton, Windsor and Brampton, Ontario.
The agreement with Ford rejects permanent two-tier wages, provides cost of living lump sum payments, protects pensions for current workers and sets the stage for the creation of 600 new jobs, among other gains.
"Our members at Ford recognize that in these uncertain economic times, some of the most important elements of a new collective agreement are future investment and improved job security," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "This new agreement will ensure that our facilities are well-positioned for a strong future in the North American auto industry."
The breakdown of ratification results, by classification, is as follows: 
Production: 81 per cent
Skilled Trades: 87 per cent
Office: 100 per cent


GM Workers Vote on Pattern Agreement


As CONTACT went to press, CAW members at General Motors facilities in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock, Ontario were voting on a tentative agreement. Ratification votes were held on September 26 and September 27.
The tentative deal reached between the union and GM includes all of the monetary gains negotiated in the Ford agreement, as well as new investment commitments and provisions for greater job security.
A meeting of 200 shop floor leadership at GM endorsed the proposed four-year deal on September 21 in Toronto by a margin of 99 per cent. The deal had previously been endorsed by the union's GM master bargaining committee.
Visit for full GM ratification vote results.

Tentative Deal Reached at Chrysler

The CAW reached a tentative agreement with Chrysler Canada on September 26. The proposed four-year pact follows the pattern agreement established at Ford, including a renewal of job security provisions for Windsor, Brampton and Etobicoke facilities.
"At the onset of talks we were miles apart on some pretty fundamental issues,"  said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "Our committee worked incredibly hard, round the clock, to ensure we reached a deal that preserved the pattern and that both sides could be proud of."
As CONTACT went to press, CAW shop floor leaders were scheduled to meet on September 28 in Toronto to discuss the terms of the settlement. Members will vote on the agreement at ratification meetings on Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30. Vote results will be released on Sunday evening and posted online at .

First Agreement with Algoma Great Lakes Shipping

The CAW reached a first tentative agreement with Algoma Great Lakes Shipping Inc and 350 unlicensed seafarers sailing on Algoma's Great Lakes bulk shipping fleet. The agreement was reached on September 22 and is the first between the company and union following the sale of the Upper Lakes Shipping Fleet to Algoma Central Corporation in 2011.
"Our goals in these first contract negotiations with Algoma were to secure commitments to fleet renewal, fair compensation and the preservation of health benefits," said CAW Local 4401 President Jim MacDougall. "With the support of our members and the CAW, we were able to achieve these goals."
The previous collective agreement expired in April 2011. It would have legally terminated on September 25, 2012, and prompted either a strike or lock-out, if a new deal had not been reached. Negotiations had been delayed to 2012 in order to facilitate an orderly transition of operations from Upper Lakes Shipping to Algoma.
Members of the CAW Local 4401 Executive Committee unanimously endorsed the four-year deal that provides a wage increase of three per cent (retroactive from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012), two per cent (retroactive from April 1, 2012) and two subsequent increases of at least 1.5 per cent, with additional cost of living inflation protection, in the last two years. Comprehensive health and related benefits have been maintained, as well as existing pension benefits, for the duration of the contract.
Specific details of the agreement will be released following membership ratification meetings held over the coming weeks. Information meetings on the new contract will also be held aboard CAW Algoma vessels and in the communities of Thorold, Ontario as well as in Clarenville and Gander, Newfoundland once the deal is ratified.
CAW Local 4401 represents over 350 seafarers on the Great Lakes.


Powering Up: Food for the Future


Food Secure Canada will hold its 7th National Assembly in Edmonton, Alberta from November 1 to 4 bringing together a national network of people and organizations working for zero hunger, safe food and sustainable food systems.
The assembly will highlight the successes and challenges of projects and programs for social and ecological justice and sustainability. There will be a variety of plenary panels, workshops, roundtable discussions and networking sessions.
In May 2012, Food Secure Canada issued a statement calling for the creation and adoption of a national food policy, which was based on a series of recommendations outlined in "Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada."
To find out more about Food Secure Canada's National Assembly please visit
CAW is a supporting organization of Food Secure Canada.

ITF Youth Conference 2012 - Montreal, Quebec


Montreal, Quebec played host to the first ever International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) youth conference held on September 17-19. The conference brought together over 150 young transport workers from across the globe, including a delegation of 10 CAW members representing the union's air, road and rail transport sectors. Conference attendees discussed a range of issues of vital importance to the future of the global transport sector, including efforts to tackle climate change and to stop the rise of precarious work. The conference was intended to shape ITF Youth program campaigns and activities for the coming years, in the lead up to the next ITF Congress in 2014. On September 17, conference delegates posed for a group photo behind a patchwork of flags representing trade union affiliates of the ITF. For more information on the ITF Youth program, visit or contact


Sisters in Spirit Vigils - October 4

The Sisters in Spirit campaign is organizing vigils in communities across the country on October 4, raising awareness and demanding action for missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls across Canada. The CAW supports this campaign and is encouraging local unions across the country to participate.
Sisters in Spirit have documented almost 600 deaths and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls.
"Our government has not taken the necessary steps to fully address this national tragedy," said CAW Human Rights Director Vinay Sharma.
CAW Women's Program Director Julie White said these vigils are important awareness-raising actions and also serve as special commemorations for the lives of these women. 
The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling on the federal government to hold a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. The NWAC is urging that Aboriginal women actively participate in the design, decision-making, process and implementation of this inquiry.
To register for a vigil: 
To find out where you can attend a vigil:

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