2002 Big Three Bargaining Begins

Toronto, Ontario

July 19, 2002


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2002 Big Three Bargaining Begins
2002 Big Three Bargaining Begins
dated July 19, 2002

       Job security, improved time off the job and substantial wages increases have topped the list of demands as the Canadian Auto Workers union enters the 2002 round of bargaining with the Big 3 automakers.

July 16, 2002 Toronto
       CAW National President Buzz Hargrove said, following the opening of talks with General Motors on Tuesday July 16, that while relations between the union and the company have improved, there are some key issues including the 6,000 workers laid off in St. Catharines.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We must have a commitment for future product placement and new investment in St. Catharines. We have to get people back to work. "So we've told General Motors that's a priority for us. We must have a commitment for future products.

July 17, 2002 Toronto
       Following the start of the Ford talks the next day Hargrove said the historically good relations with Ford are under stress over the announced closing of the Oakville Ontario truck plant.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "They praise you. The top executives come through the plant and say "man you guys are really on to it. You're doing it." And then, all of a sudden, you get an announcement our plant is closing. You've got a hell of a time explaining that to people especially when it's a transfer. It's not taking out production that is obsolete."
       "This is a direct transfer of jobs from Oakville to Dearborn, Michigan. Absolutely unjustified."


July 18, 2002 Toronto
       DaimlerChrysler announced earnings of 1.2 billion dollars as they opened bargaining with the union on July 18. 
       Hargrove said all three companies are enjoying profits and the union expects to share in the wealth their members have created. Job security, however, remains a key issue, particularly at the Pillette Road assembly plant in Windsor.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We recognized the need to cancel that investment back in late 2000 early 2001, but we certainly didn't recognize nor accept that Daimler corporation didn't owe us a commitment and a product in the Pillette Road plant so that is our number one priority in this bargaining and we stressed that with them."

       The CAW wants commitments from all the Big 3 automakers to support national public-healthcare in Canada, a program that reduces the automakers costs by $4 an hour per worker compared to the United States. Hargrove also wants the companies to support for the campaign to get the federal government enact a new auto industry policy to replace the Auto Pact.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "We want to makes sure that when we leave the bargaining table that we have an absolute understanding that they are going to increase their commitment as long as the government forces off shore automakers to increase their commitment on a comparable basis."
       "We want to do this without a dispute. But no one should underestimate our ability to have a fight if we have to have one. And no one should misread our concern and our campaign on strengthening the overall industry in Canada."


       During the recent Navistar strike in Chatham, an attempt to use scab labour and the violence of a company goon, which resulted in a CAW picket being hospitalized and in a coma, has polarized the mood of the union.

Buzz Hargrove
CAW National President

       "It showed us that we can have a good relationship, as long as we are strong and able to fight on our issues. But once there is a weakness in demand as we saw at Navistar where we had 1,200 out of 1,800 employees, or members of our union on layoff and the demand was slack how quick that relationship can be turned around by a senior executive's decision to try and destroy the union. So that if anything puts a cloud over this bargaining, that's the issue that is hanging in the background at all three companies."

       The target company will not be selected until several days after labour Day, with the deadline for an agreement set for midnight Tuesday, September 17th. In the meantime preliminary talks are underway with all three companies.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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