CAW Refuses To Re-open GM Deal And Continues Chrysler Bargaining

March 30, 2009


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CAW Refuses To Re-open GM Deal And Continues Chrysler Bargaining
CAW Refuses To Re-open GM Deal And Continues Chrysler Bargaining
dated March 30, 2009

Toronto, Ontario
March 30, 2009

       In the wake of both the Canadian and U.S. government's rejection of General Motors' and Chrysler's restructuring plans, the Canadian Auto Workers union has ruled out the re-opening of talks with G.M. At a press conference March 30 in Toronto, CAW National President Ken Lewenza said the union has done its part.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "After a tough bargaining process with General Motors, General Motors indicated to us that our costs were cost-competitive here in Canada. We maintained our cost advantage against those that we compete with in the United States on an active cost basis and we lived up to our responsibility asked of us by both the employers and the government. And again we are prepared to continue to work with Chrysler Corporation and ultimately Ford Motor Company to live up to our responsibility as we committed to them as being part of the solution."

       The CAW president said the union can't solve the auto sector's legacy costs, particularly the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association pension plan in the United States.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "One of the outstanding issues, the key out standing issue to the business plan at General Motors and Chrysler is the VEBA plan with the UAW. Once that is resolved in the United States I think, quite frankly, we could come to grips with coming up with some kind of concept like that in Canada. I don't know what it would look like today but all I know is we can't settle the legacy costs at the bargaining table. And all I know as an absolute fact is we are not going to open up the agreement for legacy costs when you know going in you can't do anything about it."

       Lewenza was encouraged by the possible Chrysler Fiat merger and U.S. President Obama's reference to unfair trade.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "Today we clearly understand that the Chrysler Fiat arrangement is the priority arrangement. In fact as I read it, the statements that come out of the Obama team it is the only option. So I am assuming that they are aggressively working towards getting that done. I think this is a good idea. Chrysler will be stronger. This could be a benefit for Canada. There are things we could produce for Fiat in both of our plants in Canada. Perhaps best of all it will mean that Chrysler is once again run by people with a vision for auto manufacturing rather than private equity. President Obama made some reference to foreign name plates reallyindustry has to talk about is this unfair trading relationship with those that dump into our country."

       While defending pattern bargaining Lewenza said the focus of workers' wages was misleading.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "The concept of pattern bargaining has worked to the advantage of the company and the union. And even under the most difficult circumstances you can't give an employer and advantage or a disadvantage relative to the total labour cost. The total labour cost to General Motors per vehicle built is seven per cent. The total labour cost at Chrysler Corporation is seven per cent so reducing that cost to 6% won't cancel the problem."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.


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