Strike at Lexus Toyota Dealership Ends with Workers' First Agreement

September 21, 2009, 10:41 AM EST

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Workers at Erin Park Lexus Toyota overwhelmingly ratified their first collective agreement on September 18 ending a nearly two month long strike at the car dealership located in Mississauga, Ontario.

The workers, represented by CAW Local 252, voted 94 per cent in favour of the new deal, which provides substantial wage increases, provisions for guaranteed work hours, new seniority and layoff rules, benefit improvements and a new wage progression for apprentices.

"This first agreement provides a solid foundation for our members moving forward," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "These workers fought long and hard to win important contract gains that will improve their standard of living. Our goal now is to keep up the momentum and continue making progress at the bargaining table in the years to come."

Despite the success at the bargaining table, this was not an easy round of negotiations, said CAW/Erin Park Lexus Toyota bargaining committee chairperson Tony Sinopoli.

"The employer did everything in their power to stall progress on talks and break our resolve to join the union," Sinopoli said. "But our members proved that they were determined to reach a fair and equitable deal, and weren't going to be intimidated."

The workers set up picket lines on July 23 after talks had broken down, and staged a mass demonstration at Toyota headquarters in Scarborough, Ontario on September 3 to pressure the company to get a deal done.

"If it wasn't for the support and commitment of our members on the picket line each and every day, this deal never would have been reached," said Sinopoli. 

The workers at Erin Park Lexus Toyota voted to join the CAW in November 2008. At the time there were 80 workers at the dealership, which has since grown to over 90 workers. They are the latest to join the growing ranks of CAW-represented retail car dealership workers in Canada.

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