New Agreement at Stratford Auto Parts Maker Cooper-Standard

October 20, 2008, 8:42 AM EST

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CAW Local 4451 members who work at Cooper-Standard in Stratford, Ontario have ratified a new three-year agreement with the auto parts maker that provides stronger early retirement incentives and provides greater job security.

Production workers voted 90 per cent in favour and skilled trades 60 per cent. The new contract provides early retirement incentives based on years of service - for example - a 30 year worker is eligible for a $48,000 allowance. The early retirement incentives in some cases doubled what the defined contribution plan had accumulated.

The new agreement also prohibits the company from moving existing work to another Cooper-Standard plant and it includes investment and other commitments for future product.

Jerry Dias, Assistant to the CAW President, said the bargaining committee made strong gains despite a less than ideal bargaining environment.

"During these tough economic times it's imperative we negotiate improved job security wherever possible," Dias said. "The bargaining committee has negotiated a major step forward on greater job security."

CAW Local 4451 Chairperson Steve Paterson said the company originally had demands for $8 an hour in wage and benefit concessions. "I'm proud that in these tough times we held the line and negotiated an agreement that provides some additional security for our members and their families," Paterson said.

There are 600 workers at the plant with 200 currently on layoff. The Stratford facility makes automotive weather stripping for doors and windows on GM, Ford and Chrysler products.

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