Auto talks slowed in Toronto

A member of the CAW's bargaining committee said he doesn't believe new contracts with GM and Chrysler will be announced Wednesday.
For weeks, the CAW has said Chrysler has been the most difficult to negotiate with. (Canadian Press File Photo)

A member of the Canadian Auto Workers union’s bargaining committee says he doesn’t expect a new contract with Chrysler to be announced Wednesday.

Even a new deal with General Motors isn’t likely, said Dino Chiodo, president of Local 444 in Windsor and chair of the bargaining committee working with Chrysler.

Chiodo said Chrysler executives have looked over the deal the union signed with Ford but have not responded or countered. As a result, he doesn’t think the CAW and Chrysler will come to a tentative agreement before Thursday, at the earliest.

For weeks, the CAW has said Chrysler has been the most difficult to negotiate with.

However, a deal is closer to being signed with GM, according to Chiodo. Still,"in-plant issues" in Oshawa are bogging down the negotiations, Chiodo said. He wouldn’t say what those issues are, but he did say GM has reviewed the Ford deal and discussed it with the CAW.

Ford deal now template

The union and Ford reached a deal hours before a strike deadline Monday.

Chrysler and GM were said to be willing to work within that deal’s framework, according to the union.

The Ford deal includes no wage increases and no improvements in the cost-of-living adjustment until 2016. The workers instead will receive lump sum payments of $3,000 upon ratification of the deal and then $2,000 in each of the remaining three years.

New hires will make 60 per cent of full pay. The "full-pay" level would be reached after 10 years, up from six years in the last collective agreement. New hires will also be enrolled in a hybrid pension plan, rather than the defined benefit plan that current workers have.

Ford also promises to create 600 new positions, mainly in Oakville. There is no new engine production slated for Windsor.

Ken Lewenza, president of the CAW, said late Tuesday he was optimistic that he would see a new contract proposal from General Motors soon.

CAW calls talks 'constructive'

"The best thing I can say is we're having constructive discussions with General Motors [Tuesday], and there's a similar feeling of optimism at Chrysler at the subcommittee level, although there hasn't been a lot of work at the senior levels," Lewenza said Tuesday.

Lewenza told CBC News on Tuesday that the union doesn't want to strike at Chrysler and GM, but it will if forced. He said there is too much at risk for the company and union. So he extended the negotiation deadline indefinitely.

Lewenza said the union will give GM and Chrysler 24 hours if it plans to strike.

Meanwhile, Chiodo said the two U.S. automakers remain at the table, and that’s a good thing.

The parties have been negotiating around the clock and will do so as long as progress is being made, Chiodo said.