Chrysler, CAW reach labour deal

Chrysler and the Canadian Auto Workers union reached an agreement on labour concessions late Friday night that will save the automaker save about $240 million a year, CAW president Ken Lewenza said.

TORONTO — Chrysler and the Canadian Auto Workers union reached an agreement on labour concessions late Friday night that will save the automaker save about $240 million a year, CAW president Ken Lewenza said.

“This agreement meets the benchmark that was set by the federal government to guide our bargaining,” Lewenza said.

“Some of it comes from reduced compensation, some of it comes from lower legacy costs, some of it comes from increased productivity and efficiencies in the workplace.”

Ratification meetings are to be held on the weekend at Chrysler’s three Ontario plants, which are in Windsor, Brampton and the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke.

Lewenza called the deal, which left base wages and pensions untouched, a victory considering the consequences if an agreement could not be reached.

“We have done our job here. We have met the cost target, not just by tightening our belt, but also by boosting productivity. In the long run, that’s a much better way to keep our plants around in the long term,” he said.

Chrysler had said reductions on labour costs are essential to coming up with a viable restructuring plan.

The automaker must complete a restructuring plan by the end of the month in order to get financial aid from the federal and Ontario governments.

The two sides entered negotiations with very different goals in mind.

Chrysler said it had to cut its labour costs by $19 an hour to remain competitive.

But the CAW initially refused to bend from the pattern established in an earlier agreement with General Motors Canada, which cut that company’s costs by about $7 an hour.

However, Lewenza softened his stance in recent days, saying Monday he didn’t want to speculate on what the union would give up in bargaining.

“The agreement is not the same as the agreement we negotiated almost two months ago at General Motors,” Lewenza said Friday night.

“That agreement at General Motors was abolished when President Obama and our own governments rejected the GM restructuring plan. We knew it was back to the drawing board.”

The deal includes many of the same concessions included in the GM agreement, but also includes the elimination of semi-private hospital coverage and the elimination of the employee car purchase plan and tuition rebate programs next year, among other changes.

Chrysler now has until the end of the month to negotiate a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat and to reach deals with its U.S. workers, bondholders and other stakeholders in order to receive long-term bailout loans from governments in Canada and the U.S.

Without a restructuring plan that governments deem acceptable, Chrysler will likely be forced to file for bankruptcy protection or even liquidate its assets.

Chrysler Canada employs about 10,000 hourly workers and 1,00 white collar employees at its assembly plants.

Just Posted

Body of deceased man found in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

Police haven’t yet determined cause of death

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Most Read