CAW, Chrysler reach pattern deal without investment
Ford, GM already struck deals with the union, both included new investment
Posted: Sep 26, 2012 11:54 AM ET
Last Updated: Sep 26, 2012 10:43 PM ET
The Canadian Auto Workers union Wednesday night announced a tentative deal with Chrysler.
Ken Lewenza, the union's president, said the deal is similar to the ones struck with Ford and General Motors on Sept. 14 and 20, respectively.
According to Lewenza, all three deals contain no base wage increases, but workers will get $2,000 a year in the second, third and fourth years to cover cost of living increases, and a $3,000 ratification bonus.
“We’re confident Chrysler can grow in Canada, if the market can grow,” Lewenza said.
He said Chrysler has customer confidence, quality products and momentum, and the contract will not kill any of that.
However, unlike the previous two deals, no new investment came with the agreement. The Ford deal added 600 jobs and the GM deal added or maintained 1,750 jobs.
'You cannot bargain airtight job security.'— Ken Lewenza, CAW president
Chrysler, meanwhile, will continue to run three shifts in Windsor and two in Brampton through the lifetime of the agreement, according to Lewenza.
“You cannot bargain airtight job security," Lewenza said.
Tony Faria, the co-director of office of automotive research at the University of Windsor's Odette School of Business, said the contract is geared to the current workforce and not the future of Canadian auto workers.
“The leadership of the CAW has pulled out the best deal it conceivably could,” Faria said.
He called it a “cost neutral contract.”
“There was no doubt where Chrysler was going to have to go with the contract. They were going to have to agree to all major aspects of the deal reached with Ford and GM,” Faria said.
Minivan's future cloudy
Lewenza said he anticipated a makeover of the minivan during the next contract but that makeover may be put off until the end of the new four-year agreement.
“I think Chrysler is being very strategic in their capital spending,” Lewenza said.
"Mr. Marchionne has lots of reasons to invest in Canada," Lewenza said of the company's CEO, Sergio Marchionne.
"The contract is not going to bring out the job guarantees the CAW would have liked," Faria said. "Chances are we’re going to see Canada lose some production."
'Chances are we're going to see Canada lose some production.'— Tony Faria, auto analyst
Lewenza called on governments — federal and provincial — to help land auto investment in Canada.
For the last two weeks, Lewenza insisted all three U.S. automakers would agree to similar collective agreements.
He continually said it would take three or four days of tough negotiations with each company before deals were reached.
The Chrysler deal ends nearly two weeks of negotiating between the CAW and the Detroit Three automakers.
Lewenza called the negotiations with Chrysler “stressful” and “respectful.”
Earlier Wednesday, the CAW posted an encouraging message on its Facebook page.
"Negotiations with Chrysler went on until 5 a.m. [Wednesday] morning, continuing with the hope of reaching a deal later tonight," it read.
Lewenza told Reuters the automaker submitted a written economic proposal to the union Tuesday night.
Chrysler employs more than 8,000 unionized employees in Ontario. Approximately 5,000 work at Windsor Assembly Plant where the company’s flagship minivan is built. Another 3,000 work in Brampton, building the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers and Challengers. Just over 200 work at Etobicoke Casting.
In Windsor, in anticipation of a deal, CAW Local 444 had already booked facilities at Caesars Windsor for an information or ratification meeting on the weekend. The ratification vote is now scheduled for Sunday.
Dino Chiodo, president of CAW Local 444 in Windsor, encouraged his members to vote in favour of the agreement.
“There was no concessionary bargaining. We traded off nothing,” Lewenza said.
Last of Detroit Three deals
Chrysler management declined to discuss the terms of the agreement Wednesday.
"We extend our appreciation to our Canadian workforce for their patience during this pivotal round of collective bargaining," vice-president of employee relations, Al Iacobelli, wrote in an email. "We will not comment on the details of the tentative agreement during the CAW ratification process."
The CAW reached a tentative agreement with General Motors on Sept. 20. Hourly unionized employees are set to vote on that deal this week.
The union and Ford reached a deal Sept. 17, hours before a strike deadline. The Ford deal was the template for the other two Detroit Three U.S. automakers. Workers there ratified by 82 per cent.
The GM deal also includes investment at plants in Ontario. Lewenza announced GM will create or maintain 1,750 Canadian jobs and invest $675 million in capital spending in Canada.With files from The Canadian Press
Latest Windsor News Headlines
- University of Windsor unveils new master plan
- The University of Windsor has released its master campus plan, establishing a vision for the next 50 years. more »
- Experimental drug shows promise in treating breast, ovarian cancer
- Canadian-U.S. team of researchers has developed a new 'sharp-shooter' drug they hope will be a breakthrough in treating several types of cancer. more »
- Transport Canada orders 8 Ontario wind turbines removed
- Transport Canada has ordered the removal of eight wind turbines near the Chatham-Kent Municipal Airport in southwestern Ontario because they exceed height restrictions for the area and could pose a risk to pilots. more »
- Public school changes boundaries, upsets parents
- The Greater Essex District School Board has approved boundary changes to its Belle River family of schools, upsetting some parents. more »
Top News Headlines
- Neil Macdonald: Washington's obsession with leakers
- Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are just the most prominent targets in an all-out legal and propaganda campaign that America's security apparatus is mounting against leakers everywhere, Neil Macdonald writes. more »
- Half of First Nations children live in poverty
- Half of status First Nations children in Canada live in poverty, a troubling figure that jumps to nearly two-thirds in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, says a newly released report. more »
- Who's who in the Senate expense controversy
- Keeping track of the names popping up in the ongoing Senate expenses controversy — from the investigators to the four senators themselves — could be a difficult task for even the most seasoned political observers. more »
- How open is Ottawa's new 'open data' website?
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement is touting the federal government's revamped data portal as a "new natural resource." But that online window for previously published data arrives at the same time the government faces controversy over just how open it really is. more »
- Transport Canada orders 8 Ontario wind turbines removed
- FBI widens search for Hoffa remains in Michigan
- Fresh tip triggers new Jimmy Hoffa body search
- Giant Canadian flag gets council's approval
- Somali community claims police brutality in Dixon raids
- Dogs from Beirut rescued by Windsor group
- Chrysler recalls nearly 470,000 Jeep SUVs
- Council OKs patio pizza oven with 'element of danger'
- More suspects sought in Project Traveller gang probe