CAW talks with GM, Chrysler continue as deadline postponed after Ford deal
Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union are still on the job as negotiators try to hammer out new contracts with Chrysler and General Motors.
The union cancelled a Monday night strike deadline, agreeing to give Chrysler and GM negotiators more time to go over the tentative four-year deal it reached with Ford on Monday.
“We think it makes common sense that we give both Chrysler and General Motors the opportunity to do their due diligence on the collective agreement we established at Ford,” CAW president Ken Lewenza said.
“If we’re making progress, the facts of the matter, if it takes us a day or two or even three days, we will do it.”
The union said the Ford deal sets a pattern it expects the other companies to match.
Lewenza called the union’s move a good faith gesture — but adds that good faith must lead to good results.
A strike is still possible and Lewenza says the union will give 24-hours notice of a walkout if Chrysler and GM drag their feet on a deal.
General Motors said Monday night that it was looking forward to “continuing with the constructive dialogue.”
Chrysler would not comment beyond saying it was reviewing the tentative agreement with Ford.
The contract talks come as first half data from Statistics Canada suggests that strong first quarter retail performance in the auto sector was followed by a distinct softening during the spring and summer months, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
Sales growth averaged 11.0 per cent during the first quarter but slowed by half to an average of 5.5 per cent during the second quarter.
The automotive consulting firm said Tuesday that slower mid-year growth makes for an uncertain short term outlook.
The Ford deal will give 800 laid off employees a chance to get back to work, partially through the creation of 600 new jobs at its Canadian operations.
Most of the new positions will be at its Oakville, Ontario assembly plant.
There are no base wage increases in the Ford deal.
But each worker 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.