CAW and Navistar Fail to Reach Agreement in Contract Talks By Midnight Deadline
June 30, 2009, 7:32 AM EST
The CAW and Navistar have failed to reach a collective agreement by the 12:01 a.m. deadline Tuesday as a direct result of company demands for massive concessions and job cuts, CAW negotiators say.
Despite the failure to reach a new agreement by the deadline the union remains open to further discussions and its bargaining committees continue to push for equitable and fair agreements for the membership at the Chatham truck facility.
CAW President Ken Lewenza said the employer is demanding massive concessions and job cuts that will devastate CAW members and the entire community.
"We are determined to fight for these jobs and continued production at this important Chatham employer," Lewenza said. "It's totally unacceptable for the company to demand these massive concessions and to also propose to use third party contract workers to handle much of the work that would remain under their latest proposals," Lewenza said. "Despite those concerns we remain determined to negotiate a new agreement."
The company's proposed job cuts would result in over 1000 workers at the facility on lay off with little or no chance of recall. The bargaining committees for CAW Local 127 (production and skilled trades) and CAW Local 35 (office and technical) have worked around the clock in an attempt to find a fair settlement.
CAW Local 127 Chairperson Cathy Wiebenga said the bargaining committee is frustrated by the company's refusal to remove "outrageous demands" including proposals to allow third party supplier clearance to perform bargaining unit work, slash new hire compensation, eliminate cost of living adjustments and significantly reduce health care benefits.
"Our members produce the best heavy trucks on the road today and they will continue to do so if the company will recognize that work with a just agreement," Wiebenga said.
CAW Local 35 Chairperson Sonny Galea said while some progress had been made at the bargaining table, the two sides remain far apart of numerous key issues. "We are working hard to ensure the future of this plant in Chatham, but the company refuses to bargain meaningful change that would be acceptable to our members," Galea said.
The union is scheduled to hold a membership meeting on July 1 to update members on the negotiations, but its bargaining committees remain at the hotel prepared to meet the company at any time to reach a fair agreement.