September 8, 1999
1999 Big Three Bargaining
(Toronto) - With all the CAW bargaining committees present, Ford members cheered as CAW president Buzz Hargrove announced the target for 1999 bargaining -- Ford Motor Co.
Hargrove said the choice is based on a number of factors and decided after intense consultations with the leadership of each bargaining committee. We chose the company where we believe we can get the best settlement in the interests of our membership with the least amount of sacrifice.
Hargrove went on to say bargaining at Ford will be tough but there is no reason why a settlement cannot be reached without a strike.
The strike deadline is set for 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, September 21 when the current contract expires.
Ford has the largest cash reserves of the Big Three automakers with $25 billion. With a highly skilled and productive workforce building quality products, more than shareholders and executives deserve to share in the profits. Our members, their families and the communities they live in have a right to a decent settlement.
Foremost in this round of bargaining is the issue of pension improvements for those soon to retire and for current retirees and surviving spouses. Other issues include substantial wage increases, COLA and benefit improvements, language to deal with the impact of modular production, time off the job and a host of workplace issues.
Ford Master Bargaining Committee chairperson Alex Keeney said the Ford bargaining committee was up to the task of setting the pattern and emphasized he would be working closely with the CAW leadership at General Motors and Chrysler to ensure the pattern will be one that meets the concerns of the members at all three companies.
Bargaining which has been underway now for several weeks gears up with all the focus on Ford. Sub-committees on the issues will now enter into round-the-clock negotiations.