October 13, 1999
1999 Big Three Bargaining
TOUGH ISSUES AHEAD WITH GENERAL MOTORS
CAW talks with General Motors heated up this week with the strike deadline a week away.
The CAW Master Bargaining Committee and GMs master committee met Tuesday to review the issues.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove asked GM to get rid of the uncertainty and table the pattern economic settlement. Hargrove, referring to the 1996 strike when GM refused to accept the pattern, said accepting the pattern by this weekend would be the "first test of their (GMs) seriousness" in this round of bargaining.
The emphasis on accepting the pattern well before the deadline is necessary because of the host of other tough issues on the table with GM.
"Job security issues remain paramount and bargaining with GM is always tough," said CAW/ GM Master Bargaining Committee chairperson Mike Shields adding, "were moving into round-the-clock bargaining already because of the complexity of the issues at GM."
The CAW is demanding GM accept once again the "work ownership" language first negotiated in 1996 which recognizes that where workers are producing a quality product at a reasonable cost with high productivity, the workers "own" the work. GM is touting the concept of modular assembly. The CAW is taking the position that changes in assembly production methods must recognize that the workers, like in the case of American Axle, remain under the GM Master Agreement.
American Axle in St Catharines poses its own problem with the threat to remove production of the axles to the U.S.
The continuing uncertainty around a new product for St. Therese has a high profile at the bargaining table. The plant, currently on one shift, has a highly productive and skilled workforce, but the product the Camero is not a big seller in the market.
The "neutrality" letter established in the pattern must apply to any spin-off of Delphi parts production with the workers remaining under the master GM agreement.
The union has raised the London diesel plant and the announcement of the "intent" to produce vehicles for Union Central and hopes to get more concrete information on the potential order.
Discussion on the possible creation of a third shift in Local 222, Oshawa, could mean new jobs. Third shifts have been well established at Chrysler assembly plants and Oshawa, with its high-selling vehicles is well-suited to a third shift.