CAW Local 1285 Secures Future For Brampton DaimlerChrysler Plant

Brampton, Ontario

March 11, 2007

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CAW Local 1285 Secures Future For Brampton DaimlerChrysler Plant

The Canadian Auto Workers union Local 1285 members at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Brampton have reversed a previous decision and voted in favour of work rule changes which will bring the new "project X" model to their plant in 2009.

The union leadership held the re-vote meeting after learning the company was going build elsewhere and weaken the union's future bargaining position according to Bob Chernecki, assistant to CAW national president Buzz Hargrove.

Bob Chernecki
Assistant to CAW national president

"Had we not brought this membership together and next Wednesday this corporation makes a decision to build our LX platform someplace else this membership would be livid and we wouldn't blame you. We had an obligation as a union and that is why we are here today. To tell you this is the future of this facility and we need to understand that and you need to understand that."

Amidst heckling from the floor Chrysler Master Bargaining Committee chair, Ken Lewenza urged the members to reconsider their earlier vote to preserve their jobs and position the plant for the future.

Ken Lewenza
DaimlerChrysler Master Bargaining Committee Chair

"When we go into bargaining in 2008 I want to be in a stronger position verses a weaker position. Because if people think this is the beginning of the end you're wrong. We'll be fighting every day, every minute for the rest of our lives because of the relentless pressure we have in the manufacturing sector, not just in the auto sector."
After a boisterous meeting with strong opposition against the work rule changes the membership voted to hold a re-vote which got underway immediately afterwards by secret ballot. The outcome of the voting was 78% of the production workers and 95% of the skilled trades in favour of the agreement.

Local 1285 president Vince Bailey, Local 1285 Committee person Cammie Peirce, along with co-workers Matt Steeve, Lisa Nicholson and Mark Welch had differing reactions.

Vince Bailey
CAW Local 1285 President

"The reason the vote went through is the fact that people are worried about their jobs and they do respect the leadership"

Cammie Peirce
Brampton Committee person

"And I know what it's like not to have SUB, and we have people who don't have SUB, so anything that we can do to keep our people working and keep our plant running is just wonderful."

Mark Steeve
CAW Local 1285

"It's obviously the best way we could have went. Other than that I'm just happy to have a job."

Lisa Nicholson
CAW Local 1285

"I know what they are asking and I appreciate that and I think they are asking for very little. I want to keep my job so I have no choice but to vote yes but it still doesn't sit well with me."

Mark Welch
CAW Local 1285

"We just find that the whole thing has turned into one big mess to be honest with you, that's what I feel."

The new model X will be built in Brampton starting in 2009 but plant chair Ardis Snow said rebuilding the unity of the membership is his most immediate concern.

Ardis Snow
Brampton Plant Chair

"I have a very huge mountain to climb to get the membership and even the leadership back on side so that we're all going in the same direction. We have elections coming up this year in September and contract negotiations a year later."

The dissention during the meeting shows the strength of the CAW according to Chernecki.

Bob Chernecki
Assistant to CAW national president

"We know it is a tough membership, we know it is a tough leadership; we know it is a tough decision to make and we encourage debate. Debate is good for the union. I think the Local will be stronger because of this and I think they have learned some lessons through this."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."

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