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10:57 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers authorize strike against Ford, Chrysler, GM

The Canadian Auto Workers union said today its members have voted to strike against Chrysler, Ford, and GM, if necessary.

The Detroit News reports the CAW is negotiating new contracts with the automakers. Current contracts are set to expire on September 17:

The CAW is expected to meet with the automakers Monday and Tuesday in downtown Toronto.

Ninety-nine percent of Chrysler CAW members voted in favor of striking if necessary compared to 98 percent of GM workers and 97 percent of Ford workers. Votes were held last week and over the weekend, the CAW said.

The Detroit Free Press reports the vote to strike is only a formality (it gives the union more negotiating power), and doesn't mean a strike is looming. The Freep has more on the sticking points in negotiations:

CAW President Ken Lewenza has said the union deserves a fair share of the profits of the automakers after helping the companies as they struggled to rebound from bankruptcies and painful reorganizations over the past several years.

However, executives from all three automakers have said that the cost of labor in Canada is among the highest in the world and are demanding further concessions from the union.

Both papers report the last time the Canadian Auto Workers union held a strike was in 1996 against GM.