CAW Master Bargaining Committees Agree to Start Auto Restructuring Talks



    TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - At a special meeting in Toronto today, the CAW
master bargaining committees at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler gave the
union the authority to engage in extraordinary contract talks with the North
American automakers as their restructuring process continues in the coming
weeks.
    The talks would be aimed at ensuring that labour costs at the Canadian
plants of the three companies remain competitive with the companies' U.S.
plants, even as the U.S. parent corporations restructure their operations.
    "Labour costs clearly did not cause this worldwide crisis in the auto
industry, and labour concessions cannot possibly solve that crisis," said CAW
President Ken Lewenza.
    "But we can't ignore the precarious financial state of these companies,
the extraordinary government offers of aid and our need to remain fully
competitive for future investment."
    Talks with the automakers are likely to begin next week.
    In a special resolution authorizing the contract talks, the three
bargaining committees attached conditions to any tentative deal that may be
reached:

    
    -     Ratification by a majority of CAW members at each company;
    -     Participation by the companies in a financial assistance agreement
          with the Ontario and Canadian governments;
    -     Acceptance by the companies of agreed-upon commitments regarding
          their future proportional manufacturing presence and activity in
          Canada; and
    -     A comprehensive National Auto Strategy to address the overall
          challenges facing the auto industry, including addressing the huge
          trade imbalances between North America and the rest of the world.
    

    "We have consistently indicated that the CAW will be part of the
solution," Lewenza said. "But the workers could work for free, and it wouldn't
make any difference without a broader national strategy to address this
industry's deeper problems."
    To read the complete resolution, please visit:
http://www.caw.ca/en/5428.htm





For further information:

For further information: CAW Communications, Shannon Devine, (cell)
(416) 302-1699 or Angelo DiCaro, (cell) (416) 606-6311

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Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)

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