September 19, 1999
1999 Big Three Bargaining
REAL "FIRST OFFER" FROM COMPANY PUTS BARGAINING ON THE RIGHT TRACK
CAW president Buzz Hargrove and the CAW Ford Master Bargaining Committee are calling Fords economic offer of Sunday morning the real "first" economic offer after the Friday morning company presentation which Hargrove termed "an insult to the membership".
This offer "puts us on the right track it is now a basis for discussion", said Hargrove, but he cautioned that "theres a long, long way to go" if a tentative settlement is to be reached before 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, September 21.
The companys "first offer" today started to address the unions priority issues, for example pensions and wages, as well as removing concessions from the benefit package.
Hargrove said, "Theres a 50 % chance that a tentative settlement can be reached by the strike deadline" adding, "the company wasted a critical 48 hours out of the bargaining process Friday and Saturday".
With the new offer, sub-committees on a variety of issues such as benefits, production standards, health and safety, skilled trades, and equity as well as local union committees moved into high gear.
CAW Ford Master Committee chairperson Alex Keeney said, "All committees are ready to meet around the clock in order to reach a settlement before the deadline." Keeney added, "Theres still enough time if the company is willing to put the effort and the hours into achieving a settlement."
The total leadership stressed the last few hours are critical the pressure is on the company so long as the plants stay up and running right to the deadline. Once the plants go down, in the short term, the pressure is off the company to resolve the issues.
The committee is requesting that all members stay on the job and respect the strike deadline.
Alex Keeney, Chair.,