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CAW tells members to ready for strikes at Big 3

Canadian Automotive Workers' union says the car makers aren't serious about reaching a deal, wanting to cut costs from existing agreements.


September 6, 2012
by The Canadian Press

TORONTO—Workers need to be ready to shut down the Canadian operations of the Big 3 Detroit automakers if a deal can’t be reached at the bargaining table, the Canadian Auto Workers’ union told its members Sept. 5.

“It is our hope and intention to reach an agreement with at least one of the three companies before the deadline,” the union said in a news release.

The strike deadline is Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m.

The union said it’s not immediately announcing a strike target for this round of negotiations with General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.

“This set of negotiations, the CAW is attempting a different approach by not immediately announcing a target company, with the goal of moving negotiations along with all three,” the union said.

But the auto workers’ union added the Big 3 automakers aren’t serious about reaching a deal and want to cut costs from existing agreements.

“The corporations have been uniformly clear—anything that adds cost will have to be paid for by savings elsewhere in the agreement,” the CAW said.

Hourly workers at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford plants in Canada have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike to back their contract demands.

The CAW said local unions across the three auto companies are being asked to form strike committees and start preparations for a strike.

The Canadian Auto Workers’ union has said Chrysler workers have voted 99% in favour of strike action if necessary. The vote was almost as strong at General Motors, where 98% backed strike action, and at Ford, where the vote was 97%.

The union is looking to share in improving financial position of the three automakers after making concessions during the recession.

However, the automakers are looking to pare labour costs in Canada, which they say are higher than in the United States.

The last CAW strike was in 1996, against General Motors.

©The Canadian Press