October 4, 2012

Volume 42, No. 34

CAW Members at GM and Chrysler Approve New Deal

CAW Local 199 ratification meeting.
(Photo by Peter Scott, CAW Local 199)





CAW members at General Motors and Chrysler have approved a new collective agreement by 73 per cent and 90 per cent respectively.  Voting took place at a series of ratification meetings last week and over the weekend.
The agreements follow the pattern agreement reached with Ford on September 17, where workers voted 82 per cent in favour.
It includes a $3,000 quality and productivity bonus for workers upon ratification as well as cost of living lump sum payments of $2,000 in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It offers protection of current pension benefits for existing workers, as well as greater job security.
CAW President Ken Lewenza said the agreement shows the importance of pattern bargaining in the auto sector.
"Pattern bargaining allows the CAW to concentrate its collective strength on one company at a time and create a level playing field on compensation that extends throughout the auto industry," Lewenza said.
The following table shows the breakdown of the ratification votes by classification:

The CAW represents 21,000 workers at the Detroit Three auto companies.
Now that union members have officially signed off on the three major auto agreements, CAW President Ken Lewenza said the union will shift attention toward winning a long-overdue national auto policy for Canada.
"One of our objectives coming into these talks was to position our industry for future growth and success, and we did as much as we possibly could on that front," Lewenza said. "But without a comprehensive sector development strategy, the future of auto manufacturing in Canada remains uncertain, at best."
The CAW's Re-Think Canada's Auto Industry campaign proposals include the development of a transparent and consistent auto investment policy, building a green industry, a buy-Canadian vehicle purchasing strategy, a re-think on automotive trade policy, negotiating Canadian manufacturing footprint commitments, in addition to a number of other measures.

From Russia with Solidarity

CAW organizer Bob Van Cleef addresses Russian ITUA members at a workshop in St Petersburg.






Hands of solidarity were outstretched across the Atlantic Ocean, over the Baltic Sea and into the Bay of Finland during a four day workshop held in St. Petersburg, Russia for workplace activists and union organizers of the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA).  This young union, born out of the struggles of fighting for real democracy and representation in a post Soviet Union Russia, is an affiliate of the global union IndustriALL as is the CAW.
"To engage workers through simultaneous translation was initially very challenging but once commonalities of workplace issues and challenges in organizing were identified the workshop began to flow with discussions, lectures, stories and laughter," said Bob Van Cleef, national representative in the organizing department.
One of the results of the workshop was the development of a statement of principals on organizing that will be used as a guide as they increase their organizing activities and work on the development of their growing structure. 
"To build organizing power within democratic independent trade unions in Russia is important to the ongoing development of civil society in Russia," said Annie Labaj, International Director, CAW. 

CAW Participates in International Day of Action for Airline Workers

CAW Local 2002 members at Air Canada and Aeroplan participated in the International Day of Action for Airline Workers.
"Today, at selected workplaces across Canada and around the world, airline workers are taking a stand against outsourcing and the suppression of our collective rights," said CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross, in a letter to local union members.
"Every one of us is affected by issues like contracting out, low cost replacements and governments that either ignore the issues or interfere when it comes time to protect CEO bonuses over workers' rights."
Held on September 27, approximately 1,500 CAW members took part in a short work stoppage in Saint John, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
The CAW Local 2002 executive board in its entirety took part in the action in the Vancouver Aeroplan office - organized in solidarity with the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA).
Workers at the Greater Toronto Area Airport also dropped by Air Canada's 75th anniversary party, turning it into an educational about PALEA.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) is a profitable airline owned by a billionaire who fired the airline's entire ground staff (airport and reservations) represented by PALEA. PAL has since replaced them with non-unionized contract workers for a third of their salary, working six eight hour shifts a week.
Right now over 2600 PALEA members and their families are occupying a portion of the Manila airport as well as other airports throughout the Philippines fighting for their jobs.
For more information on how to support the Philippine Airlines Employees' Association, please visit: http://www.caw2002tca.ca/NewsRoom/insupport-philippe-airlines-employees-association.aspx

Unions Endorse Mass Sit-in to Defend West Coast

On September 26, the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW), the BC Teachers' Federation, the United Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union-CAW, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees BC (CUPE BC) all added their names to the growing list endorsing the October 22 Defend Our Coast mass sit-in against tar sands tankers and pipelines in Victoria.
On September 12, over 80 influential leaders from the business, First Nations, environmental, labour, academic, medical and artistic communities endorsed the sit-in at the provincial legislature.  The sit-in will highlight the widespread opposition in B.C. and across Canada to tar sands pipelines and the threat they pose to coastal ecosystems and inland watersheds on unceded First Nations territories.
"The on-going risks that these tar sands pipelines and tankers pose aren't worth any price. Tens of thousands of unionized and other jobs depend on healthy river and ocean ecosystems," said Susan Spratt, CAW Area Director for BC and AB.
"We will be coming to Victoria not just to oppose Harper's vision of an economy based on exporting raw bitumen but to propose a very different economic vision for our country. We want a transition from dependence on fossil fuels that is fair to the workers in the sector, as well as a national energy strategy that includes good green jobs and long term energy security to Canadians," asserted Jim Britton, Regional Vice President, CEP.
People can sign up online at: http://www.defendourcoast.ca/ to participate and become a coastal defender.

Pitching in to Pick up at CAW Local 1285

On September 22, CAW Local 1285 took part in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup along with the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority. Volunteers picked up cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, cans and wrappers that could have ended up in the Etobicoke Creek at Loafer's Lake in Brampton, Ontario. Above TRCA group photo, CAW Local 1285 Environmental Chair/Chrysler Brampton Assembly Environmental Rep Michel Le Page is on the right.

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