CAW Auto Leadership Endorses Resolution on Auto Restructuring Talks

February 18, 2009, 11:08 AM EST


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CAW local union and workplace leadership in the auto sector overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution authorizing the national union and Master Bargaining Committees to engage in extraordinary restructuring talks with North American automakers at a special meeting held on February 17.

CAW President Ken Lewenza made the announcement at a press conference in Toronto shortly after the meeting where over 500 CAW rank and file members (representing unionized workers at the Canadian operations of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler), voted in favour of the resolution.

"Understanding that our members are the most productive autoworkers in the world, our rank and file auto leadership has mandated the Master Bargaining Committee to ensure GM, Ford and Chrysler's Canadian operations are fully cost competitive with their counterparts in the U.S.," said Lewenza.      

The resolution states that any agreement reached between the automakers and the union must be contingent on the following factors:

-Ratification by a majority of CAW members at each company; 
-Participation by the companies in a financial assistance agreement with the Ontario and Canadian governments;
-Acceptance by the companies of agreed-upon commitments regarding their future proportional manufacturing presence and activity in Canada; and Development of a comprehensive and viable National Auto Strategy, on the basis of recommendations from the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, which addresses the industry's challenges including one-way trade imbalances between North America and the rest of the world.

The resolution also enables the union to discuss alternative funding mechanisms for funding legacy benefits such as health and pension benefits. CAW Master Bargaining Committee representatives for GM, Ford and Chrysler unanimously endorsed the same resolution at a meeting held on January 29. The union is gearing up for talks expected to begin within the coming weeks. 

The full resolution can be found at: http://www.caw.ca/en/5528.htm

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