Buhler Versatile Workers Get $18 Million Settlement
August 13, 2001
Please note that you will need a copy of RealPlayer installed on your computer in order to view the following video file(s).
The fight against Buhler Versatile by the 500 CAW members at the Winnipeg tractor plant is over after years of struggle and a nine-month strike-lockout. Ninety-three per cent of the workers voted to accept a negotiated settlement with the company which will see Buhler pay almost 18 million dollars to the workers in back pay and severance money. Scott McLaren, CAW Local 2224 bargaining chairperson, said a settlement was the best way to go.
Local 2224 Bargaining Chairperson
"Nobody wants to give up their job but is Mr. Buhler going to make a go of this place? Is there anything to go back to? He proposes that he is closing the plant. I mean do we get people back to work for a year or two years or do we try to get everyone some kind of a settlement? So after much discussion we decided to go down this road and try and go for the settlement."
The settlement gives production workers who walked off the job Nov 3rd of last year $33,000 in back wages. Skilled trades got $40,000 in back pay. In addition, based on years of seniority, each worker will get $5,000 to $20,000 in severance pay depending on length of service.
The full benefits coverage for the members will continue to the end of September.
1.5 million dollars will go into topping up the pension plan and there is a guarantee of pension assets to be funded by the company for 5 years.
From the purchase of Versatile by John Buhler, it was apparent that the new owner did not want to find a solution, which would keep Canada's last tractor factory in operation.
Assistant to CAW National President
"The reality is when you get rid of your engineers and you don't put money back into the workplace, you know it is a slow death after that. So, when you think with your head, you have to say to yourself, what are our options? Our options of course were to come back to the membership and recommend that they get back their full wages for the nine-month period and their full compensation. And we have been able to structure it to make sure it comes out the best for the members that are affected."
Throughout the nine months not one member of the CAW crossed the picket line. Now that it is over, the workers will be given access to go in and get their personal property and tools.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."