CAW Reaches Tentative Settlement with GM

May 22, 2009, 3:15 PM EST

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The CAW has reached a tentative settlement with General Motors Canada following weeks of intense negotiations for a new collective agreement as part of the company's North American restructuring process.

The agreement includes a series of cost-saving provisions affecting cash compensation, health benefits, other non-wage benefits, and work practices and productivity improvements. The company and the union have agreed that the changes will reduce all-in labour costs to a level comparable to those paid at Toyota Canada.

The new agreement also includes a comprehensive restructuring of the company's pension plan.

Through this plan, the company commits to move to funding its pension on a solvency basis, moving away from the special funding loophole established in 1992 in Ontario (referred to as Section 5.1). Thanks to a combination of upfront contributions and sustained funding commitments over the next several years, GM's pension funding status will quickly reach levels comparable to Ford and Chrysler in Canada.

"This deal will be an immense relief to the more than 25,000 retired GM workers in Canada," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "They will sleep much easier tonight."

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the union was able to resist cuts to many core benefits, maintained wages and secured pensions for members at General Motors, a testament to the strength and solidarity of CAW members throughout these negotiations.

"In the face of tremendous economic and political pressure we have ended up with an agreement that protects the interests of our members, which is an important victory," Lewenza said. "This agreement was a crucial step the overall process of restructuring this company, and allowing us all to move forward."

The agreement includes all of the cost-saving provisions originally included in the contract negotiated with GM in early March and all of the changes CAW negotiated with Chrysler in May.

Additional changes negotiated in the second round of talks with GM include substantial workplace practices and productivity improvements, an extra freeze in all pension levels (going out to 2015), and the details of GM-specific deals regarding pensions and the new independent Health Care Trust

The agreement also preserves the restructuring agreements which were negotiated at the Windsor Transmission Plant and Oshawa Truck Plant.

CAW members working at General Motors in Windsor, Oshawa, St. Catharines and Woodstock will vote on the new contract in a series of meetings held on Sunday and Monday. Results of the ratification votes will be released late Monday night via Canada News Wire (CNW).

The ratification schedule is as follows:

*Please note: media are welcome to attend the Windsor, Oshawa and Woodstock ratification meetings. 

Sunday May 24, 2009

St. Catharines - Local 199 (10 a.m.) 

Brock University
500 Glenridge Drive
St. Catharines, Ontario

Woodstock - Local 636 (10 a.m.)  

CAW Local 636 Hall
126 Beale Street 
Woodstock, Ontario

Windsor - Local 1973 (2 p.m.)  

Ciociaro Club
3745 North Talbot Road
Windsor, Ontario

Monday May 25, 2009

Oshawa - Local 222 (11 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.) 

GM Place
99 Athol Street
Oshawa, Ontario

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