CAW Continues Negotiations with Ford, Presses 'Footprint'

September 11, 2009, 2:02 PM EST

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Talks between the CAW and Ford Motor Company continue today in downtown Toronto, in an effort to reach an agreement that lowers costs while securing production in Canada. 

CAW President Ken Lewenza voiced his frustration at the lagging pace of negotiations with Ford, but indicated that the union is continuing to meet with the company and still intends to reach a fair agreement.

So far, the company has refused to commit to a manufacturing footprint here in Canada which has stalled the negotiations, said Lewenza. This was a critical component of the agreements reached with General Motors and Chrysler this past spring, according to Lewenza. The union is pressing Ford to maintain its current Canadian production levels, as a percentage of its overall North American production.

"If Ford wants the pattern reached with both Chrysler and General Motors, the company must live up to its part of the CAW GM-Chrysler pattern agreement," said Lewenza. "We are prepared to reach an agreement with Ford that reduces costs here in Canada, but negotiations cannot be one-sided."

Negotiations began on Tuesday, September 8.
"We cannot get an agreement with Ford without a clear commitment by the company to continue building a fair share of vehicle and engines here in Canada," said CAW-Ford Master Bargaining Committee Chairperson and Local 200 President Mike Vince.

"Our members at Ford have already suffered through disproportionate job loss as the company aggressively cut its Canadian operations, much earlier than other producers," said Vince. 

Ford already has the smallest presence of any automaker manufacturing in Canada. It employs 7,400 CAW members in Oakville, St. Thomas, Windsor and the auto parts depot in Brampton with more than 1,000 on indefinite lay-off.

"If Ford closes the St. Thomas assembly plant, which it's threatening to do, this means employment will fall below 5,000 people. Only four years ago, Ford employed more than 11,600 people," said Vince.

 "We are willing to do our part, now it's time for Ford to do the same," said Lewenza.

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