CAW GM Workers Ratify Three Year Contract Early
St. Catharines, Ontario
May 16, 2008
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CAW members at the General Motors facilities across Ontario ratified a new three year agreement by a vote of 84 per cent May 16th and 17th, 2008. The new contract, which goes into effect September 17th will cover approximately 13,000 CAW members at GM.
The details of the contract were presented to workers at ratification meetings in Oshawa, St. Catharines, Woodstock and Windsor. It includes the pattern set at Ford two weeks earlier as well as product commitments by GM for the Oshawa car and trucks plants and at the St. Catharines facilities.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove said ever-worsening economic conditions in Canada prompted the union to bargain early to position itself for the future.
"We knew the fear and insecurity in a number of our facilities. So we were determined to try and establish a pattern with one of the companies and do it early enough that we could be seen to be doing something intelligent and we could still go to Harper and Flaherty and say " look we have done our share. Our membership has done their share. Now it is up to you to take the next step and start to do something to get re-investment in our country."
The agreement rejected the two-tier wage demands of the company, provides productivity and quality bonuses, improved restructuring incentives, benefit improvement, COLA in the last two years and improved health and safety provisions.
May 16, 2008
The union also negotiated an historic close-out agreement for members at Local 1973 who work at the GM Windsor Transmission plant which will close in 2010, putting 1,400 people out of work. The union was told shortly after bargaining began that the plant would close.
May 16, 2008
Chris Buckley, Chair of the CAW/GM master bargaining committee commended the local bargaining committee for Local 1973 for fighting to ensure that every member would be taken care of when the plant closes in 2010.
He also praised the master bargaining committee and the national union for getting a good deal for the members despite facing incredible adversity.
Chair CAW/GM Master Bargaining Committee
"I don't have to convince any of you in this auditorium today about what's going on in the auto industry today, what's going on in manufacturing. You live it every day. I believe we have brought you a tentative agreement that lived up to your expectations and will let you rest a little bit easier today."
Hargrove stressed the need for the federal government to stop unfair, one way trade from Japan and Korea and challenged the membership to apply political pressure on Ottawa.
"Why aren't we forcing countries to open their markets to our products? That is the question you have to ask of your political leadership when you get ready to cast your ballot. We can turn this around for our kids and grand children but we can't do it if we are not prepared to fight."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."