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,"
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.
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.