CAW Members Overwhelmingly Endorse Pattern Bargaining

March 29, 2009


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CAW Members Overwhelmingly Endorse Pattern Bargaining
CAW Members Overwhelmingly Endorse Pattern Bargaining
dated March 29, 2009


Windsor, Ontario
March 29, 2009

       The 8,000 Canadian Auto Workers members at Chrysler Canada have endorsed the union's refusal to break the pattern set with General Motors despite demands from the company for additional concessions. On March 27, CAW National President Ken Lewenza announced the marathon negotiations with Chrysler Canada had stalled.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "Two times in the last 48 hours we were within inches of a collective agreement. Within inches of dealing with the bargaining team that Chrysler has assigned here in Toronto, to establishing a collective agreement that would in fact respect the pattern that we did at General Motors; and respect some of the painful decisions we were making to maintain our competitive advantage here in Canada and both times the deal was pulled back. Both times the goal posts shifted. And that is a challenge for us now to understand who's making the final decision for Chrysler Corporation."

       The union then met with the workplace leadership and won unanimous endorsement of the bargaining committee's refusal to break the pattern set at General Motors. On March 28th and 29th the Chrysler master Bargaining committee met with the membership in Windsor, Brampton and Etobicoke. CAW Local 444 president Rick Laporte, chair of the Chrysler Master Bargaining Committee said he was offended by company's tactics.

Rick Laporte
Pres. CAW Local 444

       "They were waiting for Obama to make an announcement in the U.S. And they got inside track. They knew what they had there. But they were testing our will. There was no question about it. They were testing our will to see if we would break at the end of the day and we didn't."

       CAW economist, Jim Stanford, refuted Chrysler's claims that the sacrifices by the workers in the GM pattern were not enough.

Jim Stanford
CAW Economist

       "Just look at the long run value of the Canadian dollar and we are absolutely there. I can assure you 100% that the offer that is on the table today with Chrysler would reduce their active labour cost to below $50 an hour U.S. just like GM testified that it would do the same thing. We have absolutely met our challenge. Our challenge was to preserve the Canadian investment advantage and the deal that is on the table today absolutely does that. Anything else that they come after for is just an excuse to try and attack workers and try and break their union and we won't stand for it. We've got a deal on the table that will preserve this industry for years to come."

       Lewenza said the union has done its part and lived up to its commitment to be part of the solution. He asked the members for their support.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "I live and breathe this union and what I am trying to do as a national president is to inspire every CAW member in Canada to love this union like I do. We need your support. We need your solidarity.

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.


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