CAW Members at GM Approve Restructuring Deal

March 11, 2009, 9:00 PM EST

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The approximately 10,000 CAW members working at General Motors have accepted the new restructuring agreement by 87 per cent. Ratification votes took place over the last two days in Oshawa, Windsor, St. Catharines and Woodstock after the agreement was reached early in the morning on March 8.

"These changes are difficult for our members and retirees, but CAW members at GM agree that accepting these changes is the best choice under the circumstances," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.
"Our labour costs did not cause this global crisis, and labour concessions - no matter how deep they go - cannot solve that crisis," Lewenza said. "However, our members understand that the CAW must be part of the solution, and we have done that." The new contract will ensure Canadian plants retain their active labour cost advantage and remain comparable with, or lower than, other auto producing developed nations. It also substantially reduces GM's legacy cost liabilities in Canada.

Lewenza challenged the union's critics to provide credible economic evidence that even deeper labour concessions would make any meaningful difference to the future of the auto industry. "Our labour costs constitute 7 per cent of the cost of producing a vehicle. The critics who demand deeper wage cuts know full well that they are economically irrelevant - they just see this as an opportunity to attack unions, no matter what we do."

Lewenza noted that governments around the world are providing major financial assistance to beleaguered automakers.

The GM deal will be implemented as soon as proposed bridge loans from the federal and provincial governments are finalized and begin to flow. Lewenza urged governments to move quickly in this regard, suggesting that deteriorating economic conditions require a quick response.

The results by location are as follows:

CAW Local 1973, Windsor
Production:         91% in favour
Skilled Trades:    95% in favour
Combined total:  92% in favour

CAW Local 199, St. Catharines
Production:         91% in favour
Skilled Trades:    93% in favour
Combined total:   91% in favour

CAW Local 222, Oshawa
Production:        86% in favour
Skilled Trades:   80% in favour
Combined total:  84% in favour

CAW Local 636, Woodstock
Production:        76% in favour
Skilled Trades:   60% in favour
Combined total:  75% in favour

Combined Production:  87% in favour 
Combined Skilled Trades:  86% in favour

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