Stability for Canada's auto workers, CAW gets most of what they want

Oct 1, 2012

Yesterday, the Canadian Auto Workers union said that 90 percent of unionized Chrysler workers voted to approve a new deal with the company.

Ford and GM workers in Canada approved their deals last week.

So what did they get?

Here's a good write-up on the negotiations between the Canadian Auto Workers and Detroit's Big Three automakers from the Detroit Free Press' Brent Snavely.

The overall goal for the CAW, stability for their workers.

The goal for the automakers, lower labor costs in Canada.

In new labor agreements reached since Sept. 17, Ford promised to add 600 jobs, and General Motors promised to create or retain 1,750 jobs. Chrysler didn't promise any new jobs.

But most of the new jobs promised by Ford and GM will be absorbed by existing workers on layoff.

...Under the deals, each worker will receive a $3,000 ratification bonus, cost-of-living lump sums in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and another cost-of-living adjustment to the base wage in 2016.

While the CAW leadership agreed to base wage freezes for the life of the four-year agreements, the annual payments were notable because the Detroit Three wanted to eliminate all cost-of-living increases.

The CAW also avoided a permanent second-tier wage for new hires. Instead, all three companies agreed to start new hires at a lower wage of $20.40 per hour, but those workers can grow into the CAW's top pay rate of $34 in 10 years.

That lower starting wage will allow the Detroit Three to reduce labor costs, but only as older workers retire.