Detroit automakers are frantically working to cut costs in an effort to stay out of bankruptcy court. A very big piece of the puzzle is labor, and leaders from the Canadian Auto Workers Union are reportedly ready and willing to make concessions. Talks are set to begin next week in advance of a February 17 deadline for the Detroit automakers to submit their viability plans to the Canadian government. The CAW would like to exchange wage concessions in return for job guarantees.
With the CAW and Detroit heading for discussions to cut wages and benefits, there are bound to be some unhappy workers. CAW president Ken Lewenza sums it up best by saying, "Labor costs clearly did not cause this worldwide crisis in the auto industry and labor concessions cannot possibly solve that crisis." Perhaps, but changes must be made in order for Detroit to become competitive verses its foreign competition.

The CAW received a big scare last week when GM turned down $3 billion in loans from the Canadian government. The move could have meant that the General was focusing on US factories, where the UAW has shown some openness to benefit concessions. GM of Canada did mention that it was instead focusing on short-term cash preservation in lieu of additional loans, but that it could pursue the loans at a later date.

[Source: BNN]


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