CAW Cautiously Optimistic With GM Chrysler Canada Restructing

February 25, 2009


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CAW Cautiously Optimistic With GM Chrysler Canada Restructing
dated February 20, 2009

Toronto, Ontario
February 20, 2009

       The Canadian Auto Workers union is cautiously optimistic after the General Motors Canada and Chrysler Canada restructuring plans were submitted to the federal and Ontario governments. At a press conference in Toronto CAW President Ken Lewenza said the good news was the commitment to maintain Canada's position within the Detroit Three.

 

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "We got a General Motors and Chrysler Corporation that is going to put a manufacturing foot print here in Canada on a proportionate basis. That's exactly what we had asked for. And we again want to acknowledge and compliment both the federal and provincial government for recognizing back in December that they would make a proportionate investment in this industry, in our jobs, in our economy, comparable to the U.S."

       Lewenza said there were four key things the union had asked for.

 

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "Number one the manufacturing footprint has to be there. Number two, obviously the investment has to be fully repaid. Number three we will be part of the solution through the next two or three weeks once we really analyse and finalize the terms and conditions of the loan. And number four we are determined to convince the federal and provincial governments during this entire process to reintroduce CAPC, The Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, in a meaningful way to get to the root causes of the problems in the auto industry prior to the global financial crisis."


       CAW economist Jim Stanford said that the CAW is competitive with offshore producers and that the General Motors plan specifically said the CAW would be compared to unionized UAW plants in the United States.

 

Jim Stanford
CAW Economist

       "We're absolutely in the ballpark as far as unionized auto plants in the developed world, so with Japan, the U.S. , Germany, our costs are already very competitive and we have committed to make sure that they remain very competitive at the end of this process."

       Chris Buckley, CAW Auto Council President said the Oshawa GM plant is slated to get new hybrid models.

 

Chris Buckley
Pres. CAW Auto Council

       "As a union we bargained those new products for here in Canada. We bargained products in May of 2008. And we ended up bargaining new products when we resolved the truck plant closure. What is encouraging is that General Motors has now stated that they plan on living up to those commitments."

       Lewenza said the restructuring plan should not be seen by the public as a bail out.

 

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "This is not charity. This is not a bail out, which is a term that has been used. This is a loan that is fully repayable of when this corporation gets back on its feet. It is important for the Canadian economy and Canadian taxpayers to understand that. And it is not much different than what is happening throughout other countries in the world relative to providing support for their key industries."


       While the union is still waiting for more details on the plans, Lewenza said the CAW is committed to the restructuring.

 

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "We're still reviewing what the UAW did. Understanding that it hasn't all been made public yet, so we are reviewing what we can as they come up and make sure that we are fully in a position to maintain our existing investment in Canada and future investment in Canada."


CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.


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