CAW Urges Further Bargaining at Navistar

June 18, 2009, 2:03 PM EST


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CAW negotiators have advised Navistar Truck in Chatham, Ontario of the union's intention to bargain beyond the expiry of the current collective agreement on June 30 at 12:01 a.m.

In a June 17 letter to Navistar Vice President of Manufacturing Dave Beebe and Thomas Hennigan, Navistar's director of employee relations, the union states it will not exercise the right to strike at the deadline.

"We firmly believe the parties may also require the services of mediation as they move through these difficult negotiations," states the letter signed by the Master Bargaining Committees, including Cathy Wiebenga, CAW Local 127 chairperson and Sonny Galea, CAW Local 35 chairperson.

"The union proposes a 90 day extension to the current collective agreement while the parties attempt to find a solution to these difficult negotiations."

The CAW outlines strong dissatisfaction with company plans to lay off active workers at the facility, while third party suppliers replace them on current operations. The two locals have more than 800 CAW members on lay off currently and the company proposal would see the current active workforce cut to less than 100. "This change, means the lay off will exceed 1000 workers," the CAW states.

The Chatham workforce has historically produced top quality products for Navistar and the launches of the Prostar and Lonestar were major success stories that significantly raised market share in heavy trucks.

In addition, in 2003 workers agreed to significant change in their collective agreement and sacrificed income to show commitment to the plant and products they build. The federal and provincial governments injected millions of dollars in an attempt to provide long term security and jobs in the community.

"It would be in the best interest of the workers, their families and the community for the parties to continue in earnest to reach an agreement without the threat of a dispute by either party," the CAW states.

Please find a full copy of the letter below.

June 17, 2009

Dave Beebe       
Vice President, Manufacturing    
Navistar Inc.       
4949 Urbana Road 
Springfield, Ohio    
USA  45502

Thomas Henigan
Director, Employee Relations
Navistar Inc.
4949 Urbana Road
Springfield, Ohio
USA 45502

Greetings,

Re: Negotiations

As you are well aware, the parties have been in extensive discussions concerning the above matter. From the onset of these negotiations the Union has expressed their desire to reach a collective agreement without a dispute. The corporation, through their demands, has notified the CAW Local 127 and Local 35, that the production at the facility will significantly change including a reduction in the production and manpower levels. According to the employers proposal, active workers at the facility will be laid off while third party suppliers replace them on current operations. 

The Union has expressed our considerable dissatisfaction with this proposal and have attempted to highlight legitimate concerns about this significant change. The memberships of both locals currently on lay off exceed 800 CAW members. In addition, the Corporation's proposal would see the current active workforce reduced to less than 100. This change, means the lay off will exceed 1000 workers. 

There can be no dispute; the Chatham workforce has historically produced top quality products for the Navistar Corporation. The launches of the Prostar and Lonestar were a success story and significantly raised the market share in heavy trucks and are the corner stone of the truck segment for the corporation. These workers and their families deserve to have full employment and a measure of job security. 

In 2003, workers agreed to a significant amount of changes in their collective agreement and have sacrificed their personal incomes in attempts to show their commitment to the plant and the products they build. The federal and provincial Governments injected millions of dollars in an attempt to provide long term security that was designed to secure jobs within the community.  The 'spin-off' effect of these jobs is 4-5 to 1. These workers, their families and the community deserve to be treated fairly. Your current proposal fails to recognize the efforts of these workers. 

The corporation's proposals have polarized these negotiations and the parties remain significantly apart on these key issues.  It would be in the best interest of the workers, their families and the community for the parties to continue in earnest to reach an agreement without the threat of a dispute by either party. 

Therefore, the CAW advises Navistar of their intention to bargain beyond the expiry of the collective agreement on June 30th at 12:01 a.m.  In short, we will not be exercising the right to strike.  We firmly believe the parties may also require the services of mediation as they move through these difficult negotiations.  The union proposes a 90 day extension to the current collective agreement while the parties attempt to find a solution to these difficult negotiations. 

We look forward to a positive response and dialogue. 

Sincerely,

Master Bargaining Committees, CAW Local 35 and CAW Local 127

___________________________  __________________________
Cathy Wiebenga     Sonny Galea
Chairperson, Local 127    Chairperson, Local 35

___________________________  __________________________
Joe McCabe      Robert Chernecki
CAW National Representative   Assistant to the President

 



 

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