September 13, 1999
1999 Big Three Bargaining
(Toronto) - The CAW Ford Master Committee and local bargaining committees met throughout the weekend as hard bargaining is underway. The union's master committee negotiators are meeting with their company counterparts as are sub-committees including pensions and benefits, health and safety and training, skilled trades, work standards, and equity.
"Ford can afford substantial improvements in the areas of pensions, benefits and wages," said CAW president Buzz Hargrove. "Their profit for the first half of 1999 was $4.3 billion compared with $6.1 billion for all of 1998. The Big 3 are driving for what could be their highest profits ever recorded."
CAW Ford Master Bargaining Committee chairperson Alex Keeney added, " There's no excuse for Ford trying to negotiate a cheap settlement. By every measure -- profit, quality, productivity and labour costs -- the Big 3 in Canada are performing exceptionally well. There is no question about quality in Canada. Since the last round of bargaining the St. Thomas car plant has won the J.D. Power gold award and the Windsor engine plant won the Ward's Automotive top ten award."
The labour cost advantage to the Big 3 to produce in Canada is about $12 per hour compared to labour costs in the U.S. because of the low Canadian dollar and lower Canadian health care costs.
"Collective bargaining is about progress on behalf of our members. The industry is doing well and we deserve our fair share," concluded Hargrove.