CAW Protects Auto Parts Jobs in Landmark Deal with GM

April 20, 2010, 1:43 PM EST

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The jobs of over 70 unionized auto parts workers are expected to be saved thanks to a landmark job security deal between the CAW and General Motors, after the automaker announced it will sever a supply contract with parts-maker Automodular in Oshawa, Ontario and move the work to a new, non-unionized facility.

Once the parts contract is severed, Automodular workers will report to work at the new facility (owned by Inteva Products) and will continue producing parts for GM vehicles. They will also be taking their union cards, their collective bargaining agreement, as well as their existing wage rates, along with them.

The decision to recognize the collective agreement and secure work for these would-be laid off CAW members was the product of some creative negotiations between the union and General Motors, said Steve Batchelor, president of CAW Local 1090 representing Automodular workers.

"This is certainly a unique deal and an incredibly important victory for our union," Batchelor said. "It ends months of uncertainty for our members, who faced the daily burden of not knowing whether they'd have a job by the end of the year. They can now rest assured that the work will be there."

GM's announcement to sever ties with Automodular would have meant job losses for over 70 active CAW members, as well as 270 others currently on layoff.

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Assistant to the CAW President Jerry Dias said the deal with GM was something he had never experienced before and expects to see more deals of this kind as competition intensifies in the Canadian auto industry, and assemblers continue looking down the supply chain to cut costs.

"We were not going to lose that work without a fight and GM recognized it," Dias told the Star. "They (GM) and other automakers must know that, as the industry changes and turns around, workers at unionized parts makers can't be left behind."

CAW Local 1090 represents production and skilled trades workers at Automodular, which manufactures a variety of car parts used for instrument panels and steering mechanisms for GM.

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