Apprentices a Key Issue in 2002 Bargaining

Toronto, Ontario

February 28, 2002


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Apprentices A Key Issue In 2002 Bargaining

Apprentices A Key Issue in 2002 Bargaining
dated February 28, 2002

 

Toronto February 22, 2002
       The CAW Skilled Trades Bargaining Conference wants the issue of apprentice programs included as a key part of the up coming big three bargaining according to Ron Jones, President of the CAW Skilled Trades Council.

Ron Jones
CAW Skilled Trades Council President

       "Anyone who is going to negotiations has to make apprenticeship an issue and it has to be a big issue.
       We have to get governments involved, we have to get business involved, schools and colleges because Canada does not have a good history of educating school kids to become trades people. And that is how there is a gap here now, and it is a world-wide shortage of skilled trades."

       The current trend towards "half-trades" is leaving apprenticeship candidates ill-prepared, according to Jones.

Ron Jones
CAW Skilled Trades Council President

       "The provincial governments make no secret that they are business friendly, so they just go to business and say " what do you need" and they make regulations that reduce training for apprenticeship for what we call "half trades". Instead of serving a full four-year apprenticeship, they'll do two years in a small portion of the trade. The problem we have there is if the industry they are in closes then they can't go anywhere else so they have to go and retrain again: whereas in the base trades you get the overall package and that moves you from industry to industry.

       CAW National President, Buzz Hargrove, says the Skilled Trades Bargaining Conference has helped the union understand what the rank and file's priorities are, across all sectors of the union.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "It was an opportunity for us to look ahead at the challenges that face the trades, whether it be the modularization of the auto industry, to the cutbacks in the rail industry, to the layoffs in the aerospace industry, and the new technologies that are coming into all of our industries. And of course, to identify to our total union, what their priorities are. These are rank and file delegates from the workplaces. They identify what their members are telling them the priorities of the union should be, as we head into our major bargaining with the auto industry this fall, and then moving from there, setting the standard that we will try to apply to the other sections of the union."

       Delegates to the CAW Skilled Trades Bargaining Conference also recommitted themselves to building union solidarity and becoming activists in the union's organizing efforts.The Conference was held in Toronto February 20th to 22nd.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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