UAW move on two-tier wages welcome

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - A push by the United Auto Workers to end two-tier wages in American auto plants is a welcome move that should help Unifor improve wages and working conditions in the Canadian auto industry, Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.

"This is a positive step by the UAW to eliminate inequities on the shop floor," Dias said. "It is time for auto workers on both sides of the border to share in the recovery of the industry, and I congratulate the UAW on taking this step."

A one-day strike at a Lear Corp. plant in Indiana, which makes seats for Ford, ended when the company agreed to end two-tier wages, in which new hires are paid less than existing employees on a permanent basis. The deal is set for ratification this weekend.

As the industry faced tough times over its last couple of contract talks, the UAW accepted two-tiering for new hires. The Lear deal, however, is seen as a sign that the UAW is prepared to tackle two-tier wages in its contract talks with the Big Three auto makers in 2015.

"It sends the signal. The UAW is being very proactive and progressive," Dias said.

Two-tiering in the U.S. put pressure on Canadian workers to accept two-tier wages at plants on this side of the border. The Canadian Auto Workers, a founding union of Unifor, fought off those demands by agreeing to longer progression rates, in which new hires take longer to get to the top rate at the plant.

Dias said the UAW's move will take pressure off Unifor to bring two-tier wages to the Big Three auto plants here when contract talks open in Canada in 2016, and sends a clear signal that it is time for workers to share in the industry's recovery.

"This is about equality in the workforce," said Dias. "Bank executives are doing very well, the auto industry and its executives are doing incredibly well. So, why shouldn't the workers, and that includes the auto parts sector, also do well?"

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 40,000 in auto and auto parts. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

SOURCE: Unifor

For further information:

Please contact Unifor Communications Director Sarah Blackstock at Sarah.Blackstock@Unifor.org or (cell) 416-949-1072, or Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.


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