Issue #15 - October 1, 1996 - Movement, But Not Enough To Avoid Strike

Issue #15 - October 1, 1996 - Movement, But Not Enough To Avoid Strike

"We do not have a resolution on the sale, closure and wind-up issues," said Hargrove

CAW negotiators at the top level, the sub-committee level and the local level worked through last night after CAW president Buzz Hargrove reported that high level discussions had led to some movement by GM on the key issue of outsourcing.

"GM indicated it was prepared to reconsider some, but not all, of the outsourcing decisions at the car and truck assembly plants that it has already made, but the discussions are still very, very, tough." Hargrove said, while there is a framework now for discussion, "we do not have a resolution on the sale, closure and wind-up issues that the union has identified as key if a strike is to be avoided".

"There was a mood at GM to try out some ideas regarding decisions already announced that affect 5500 workers and that was enough to keep talks at all levels going throughout the night." The 5500 workers include those at GM’s Oshawa fabrication plant, the Windsor trim plant, the St. Catharines axle plant and jobs slated for outsourcing at Oshawa’s car and truck assembly plants as well as in the Boisbriand (St. Therese), London and Woodstock facilities.

On the issue of outsourcing decisions on the future sale of the Oshawa fabrication and Windsor trim plants, GM is not budging. It wants to retain the unilateral right to outsource and sell operations.

"I am extremely troubled by their position on the future. I am still not optimistic we can do this without a strike," said Hargrove.

The union insists that GM accept the pattern established at Chrysler where outsourced work in the future must be replaced in each community.

GM continues to take the position its current profits are not enough and that it must continue to outsource in the future to remain competitive.

Hargrove pointed to GM’s position in Canada compared with Chrysler and Ford. "GM Canada, by all measures -- productivity, parts production, profit per vehicle, profit per employee -- is doing extremely well compared with Ford and Chrysler." GM has already downsized 12,500 jobs over the last decade - a number approximately the same as the current workforce at Chrysler or Ford.

GM Canada parts employment in Canada is already lower compared with the US. In the US, GM has 49 per cent of its workforce in parts production, while in Canada only 33 per cent is involved in parts production - lower than either Chrysler or Ford in the U.S.

GM Canada’s profit per employee is six times greater than Chrysler. GM can afford the pattern.


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