Issue #7 - September 9, 1996 - "We've got to get beyond detailed exploration," Hargrove tells Chrysler

Issue #7 - September 9, 1996 - "We've got to get beyond detailed exploration," Hargrove tells Chrysler

CAW president Buzz Hargrove and Master Bargaining Committee chairperson Ken Lewenza were interviewed after the master committees of both the company and the union met Monday morning.

Q. Late last week Hargrove said there would have to be quite a bit of work accomplished on the weekend because of the complexity of the issues. What in your view happened over the weekend?

Lewenza: I can’t stress enough the complex issues of outsourcing, lean production, shorter work time and getting into our contracts protection on hours of work and health and safety as the Harris government strips laws. We spent many hours on the weekend trying to build a framework for the principle of ‘work ownership’ to deal with the outsourcing issue.

We stressed with the company again this morning that we have to get beyond detailed exploration. Shorter work time is part of the resolve to the stress and fatigue placed on our members and is a must to get a settlement. Add to this the problem created by the government likely opting out of enforcing a healthy and safe workplace. It was a full weekend.

Q. Are you optimistic about a settlement without a strike?

Lewenza: The time before the deadline September 17 [at 11:59 pm] is getting shorter and while there has been thorough discussion and the testing out of some options we are no closer to solutions. In light of Chrysler’s decision to propose gain sharing, it makes me wonder if they are interested in a settlement without a strike. So, I’m not expressing any optimism that we can do this without a strike at Chrysler.

Q. The company has raised the issue of ‘gain-sharing’. What’s this all about?

Hargrove: In Canada, we’ve always maintained that workers need to have the security of knowing what is in their pay each week. We’re going after wage increases rolled into the base rate in every year of the contract. The U.S. took a different direction in the late 70s and included profit-sharing and there is a great disparity between what workers in GM, Ford and Chrysler have achieved. When workers in every company work long and hard hours they should be paid the same for the same work. We’re not going to let the companies compete on the backs of workers. Our record in Canada demonstrates that by consistently negotiating wage increases we have succeeded in getting a better income for our workers here and the companies have not suffered.

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