CAW Ratifies First Magna Contract
November 10, 2001
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After 14 years of struggle, the workers at Magna Corporation's Integram plant in Windsor are now full members of the Canadian Auto Workers with a three year contract. Despite being a first contract, the agreement included major gains in wages and was ratified by 86 per cent of the workers. CAW Local 444 President Ken Lewenza said the wage gains were significant.
Pres. CAW Local 444
"Just look at the first year, a 5 per cent wage increase, second three, third three. The average wage increase in the Province of Ontario today is around 2.2 per cent and that's without signing bonuses and that's without retroactive pay.
"So when you add up the total amount of money that we put into this collective agreement, it is around 16 per cent in terms of additional labour costs to Magna so this is a significant economic agreement that we have presented our members today."
The CAW and Magna agreed to suspend their fight at the Labour Board over the union certification of the workers. In order to get to the bargaining table, the bargaining committee agreed to a no strike no lockout provision. While that slowed down the bargaining, Lewenza said it didn't effect the quality of the settlement.
Pres. CAW Local 444
"This agreement took much longer than other agreements because obviously when you agree to give up the right to strike there is not much pressure on the employer because the only power that workers have is to withdraw their labour."
"But I have got to tell you in the last 4 or 5 days the management people showed a lot of co-operation with or without a strike deadline and I would suggest that this collective agreement would have not changed even with a strike. It was tough, tough bargaining. All employers are tough, Magna is no different, but I think the economics in this agreement obviously shows a lot of work was done successfully."
Hemi Mitic, assistant to CAW National President Buzz Hargrove says the contract with Integram is a landmark accomplishment for the union and could pave the way for additional Magna plants in Canada.
Assist. To CAW National President
"This is the first major Magna plant that has joined the CAW. I think it will lead the way for the future. There was a lot of work that went into putting this collective agreement together. A lot of credit to both sides, both the company and the union for the work that they have done and we are hoping we can turn the page and start a new chapter in our relationship and down the road other Magna workers will see the benefit of having a legal collective agreement."
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