CAW Sets Sights on National Auto Policy as Chrysler Deal Ratifies
September 30, 2012, 7:00 PM EST
CAW members at Chrysler have approved a new collective agreement, voting 90 per cent in favour of ratification. Voting took place at a series of ratification meetings held Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30 in Windsor, Brampton and Etobicoke, Ontario.
The contract with Chrysler follows the pattern deal set with Ford on September 17, and mirrored in the agreement with General Motors reached on September 20. Ford and GM workers ratified the agreement by margins of 82 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively.
The Chrysler agreement includes a $3,000 ratification bonus for workers as well as cost of living lump sum payments of $2,000 in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It offers protection of current pension benefits for existing workers, as well as job commitments in all locations.
Below is the breakdown of the Chrysler ratification votes by classification:
Production - 90 per cent
Skilled Trades - 93 per cent
Office & Security - 98 per cent
Now that union members have officially signed off on the three major auto agreements, CAW President Ken Lewenza said the union will shift attention toward winning a long-overdue national auto policy for Canada.
"One of our objectives coming into these talks was to position our industry for future growth and success, and we did as much as we possibly could on that front," Lewenza said. "But without a comprehensive sector development strategy, the future of auto manufacturing in Canada remains uncertain, at best."
Lewenza said that, like in most major auto-producing nations (including Germany, Brazil and others), a national auto policy can lay the foundation for the sector's ongoing competitiveness and prosperity, and avoid a 'race-to-the-bottom' on working conditions. He said the union is going to re-double its effort to win the active support of the federal government on this issue.
The CAW's Re-Think Canada's Auto Industry campaign proposals include the development of a transparent and consistent auto investment policy, building a green industry, a buy-Canadian vehicle purchasing strategy, a re-think on automotive trade policy, negotiating Canadian manufacturing footprint commitments, in addition to a number of other measures.
The CAW represents 21,000 workers at the Detroit Three auto companies, including 8,000 Chrysler workers.