The Detroit Big Three are seeking "dramatic changes" in their contracts with the Canadian Auto Workers. According to a Reuters report, the CAW claims that the U.S. automakers are angling for deep pension and benefit cuts. The CAW says it has no intention of adhering to these proposed cuts.

According to the report, the CAW is staring down "unprecedented demands" from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, as the current agreement between the parties is set to expire in one week.

One of the main points of contention surrounds a clause in the current deal, which expires September 17 at 11:59 p.m. EST. That clause would allow any worker with 30 years of experience to retire on full pension. The automakers are seeking to dissolve this clause.

The report also states that American automakers are refusing to commit to any new production investments in Canada. The CAW is demanding that the Big Three make such a commitment for the deal to go through.

According to a separate Detroit Free Press report, CAW President Ken Lewenza asserted that he plans to resist these wage and benefit concessions in the contract talks at this stage.

Other concessions being demanded by the Big Three include the creation of a second-tier workforce for newer employees. This would mirror the agreement set up with the UAW in America. The automakers are also asking that any new bonuses or pensions come from cuts made in other areas. At this time, all three American automakers declined to comment on these concessions, through Sergio Marchionne said last week that he would consider moving production to other plants if the CAW would not concede to its proposals.


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  • 75 Comments
      Car Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let them strike and bring the manufacturing back to the USA. I don't consider myself a pro union person, but at the end of the day I would rather see the UAW get the jobs over a foreign union like the CAW.
        keen.webb
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        So you think that jobs leaving Canada will stop in the US - dream on - that big ******* sound you hear is the sound of American and Canadian jobs crossing the Rio Grande. You may think that the wages a Mexican worker makes is okay for you; I for one applaud the CAW and other unions for at least trying to maintain a standard of living that will allow these workers to purchase the goods and services the rest of us make a living on. The CAW was not responsible for the malfeasance of the American banking sector, the economic downturn, the strengthening of the CAD, the irresponsible product planning and management of the Big 3, nor are they responsible for the plight of the American middle-class who find it increasingly difficult to purchase the products the Big 3 make. But it is because of all these things that Canadian workers in general including the CAW are being asked to take less than what they have been paid before. Yes inflation is low right now but the concept of a growing economy is that prices and wages go up over time – and not that wages go down while prices and wall street profits go up. The Big 3 can threaten to move jobs all they want – but it’s an empty and short-sighted threat. The fact remains that some of the best plants in the world are manned by Canadians - the Lexus plant in Cambridge and the Honda plant in Alliston to name just two; and so when the US economy gets back on track, which it will, and when the USD strengthens against the CAD, as it will, then you'll see the Big 3 come back hat in hand and with their hands out for more government largesse, looking to once again take advantage of the production savings a low CAD offers in conjunction with a well-educated and productive workforce; not to mention the significant healthcare savings the Canadian manufacturing sector offers. If Americans think that the Big 3 threatening to move jobs out of Canada is some sort of patriotic give your head a shake; when the CAD was worth 70 cents US they couldn't move American jobs up here fast enough - and they will again with the same monetary incentive.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        And then you can keep you're crappy americans cars. Yup, we'll take the real cars, you know the ones who just work. Nan, you would not understand...
      SpikedLemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      The CAW would be daft to strike. They should look to Electro-Motive as an example of what begets a strike in a losing situation. Yes, the auto makers are on a slight upswing, but look around you: you WANT to be competitive to export.
      Groagun
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Canadian auto sector is almost totally unionized and I know from direct experience, very expensive to operate in. Same goes for Michigan and Detroit along with most traditional manufacturing northern states. Any business in any industry whose 'overall cost of doing business' is exceptionally high has, is and will look at cutting those costs and 99% of the time the biggest expense is labor. One of the unique aspects of manufacturing automobiles is that if you look at the raw costs of the overall process itself, it is a constantly changing and fluctuating landscape of wants and desires of the consumer and black and white regulations from governments and safety organizations. Making cars isn't cheap, doing it the way we have for over 100 years now with the introduction of the production line by Henry Ford and the Model T. The equipment has changed, modernized and computerized, we've added robots and automation but basically it's the same old thing. Truth of the matter is that manufacturing a car the old traditional way is getting very expensive. One small example on a broad scale: The VW group just spent $80 billion dollars, yes that's billion with a B, on their new MQB platform. It's a chassis that is modular and can be shortened, lengthened or made to fit and underpin cars like the new Golf, Seat Leon and several other cars within the VW groups portfolio. They make a lot of profit but just to brake even on the initial investment will take how many cars sold? I'm not even sure and that again is just the initial investment, not the ongoing costs or manufacturing costs to even let you buy one and put it in your driveway. The 'cost of doing business' in the auto sector is huge! The VW group is just one example, there are new ones everyday that you can read about on this very site. AutoBlog does a good job reporting mainly about individual cars, they really don't get into the business of making and producing cars. It can be incredibly boring and time consuming but it's what makes the industry move forward. One more little nugget to leave you with: I'm sure you have noticed the mergers or partnerships that have been taking place in the industry over the last few years and consolidation of platform sharing. One great example is the Fiat Group, through Alfa Romeo and Mazda joining forces to produce jointly, the new Miata MX5 and new Alfa "place name here". Interesting situation for this reason: Mazda can go it alone if they know they can sell enough world wide to cover the expense of designing and producing it. Reality struck them in the face a few years back after leaving the PAG group, Ford, and were forced to go it alone.
      Luc Helterbrand
      • 2 Years Ago
      after the outrageous compensation packages of the executives, they are going to try to strip away the retirement assurances of the union workers? These people guarantee the success of these companies and make those compensation packages possible. This is what is wrong with corporate american and those who lead it. Greed and arrogance that the white shirts are the only ones who make a difference and contribute. Grotesque.
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Luc Helterbrand
        Luc, what is outrageous is the amount these companies pay out in pension and medical benefits for people who no longer work there. Pull any of the big 3's annual financial reports and compare executive comp to what pension/medical payouts are and get back to me. The solution is probably a move to a defined contribution pension from a defined benefit plan. Most businesses that still offer a company paid pension have moved to a defined contribution. From my point of view, unions are just as greedy as anyone else. Let's see how fast production can be relocated. What assurance will any of the workers have then?
      THOMAS
      • 2 Years Ago
      Move it. Go to a right to work state in the US where there is a ready and willing work force. The unions in Canada and Detroit only want high pay for more union dues to give to politicians for less work. Their pension plans are ridiculously high with low age retirements to retire at full pay and benefits for life. Most of these people will make 2 to 3 times more in total dollars after they retire than they made while working. All of this is paid for by the people who buy the cars and trucks they make.
      Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      fight on my union brothers, you do the work well some white color office people who do nothing all day rake in the dough and expect you to take pay cuts is just bs. I don't post on here often at all but all this non union talk is getting sickening to me. I come from a building trades union, I don't get paid vacation,sick leave, or anything of the sorts. My pension is self funded along with my insurance threw my total wage package. Anyone who seems to be talking against unions hasn't been in one and really has no facts to back anything up.
      papasully48
      • 2 Years Ago
      if as your comments are saying dissolve the unions and see how the american workers can make it on 15.00 dollars an hour. How about we all try to increase our income and benifits instead of lowering our futures. All non union worker should unite and work to achieve comparable packages. Stop kicking workers that are united.
      DraGuLa
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pensions these days are a luxury that will be going away (defined benefit). Most companies have a contributory pension plan (plus 401k) that will take the place of the DB pension. Also, don't count on SS being there when your eligible. Here's the deal, DO NOT rely on someone else to take care of you! The government isn't (nor should it) be responsible for taking care of you. Your employer isn't either. You need to take responsibilty for yourself and your family. Your employer pays you for the work you do. The rest is up to you. I was reading an article on this topic yesterday and one of the comments literally made me laugh out loud. Here it is: "I hope the unspeakably stupid and spoiled CAW go on strike and then have a bloated bird's eye view of their jobs going south while they guzzle cheap beer and slide greasy junk food into their pregnant looking bodies splayed out on tacky looking patio furniture at the edge of a parking lot. They can wave bye bye to theirs and their community's future. Then others can do the hard work of rehabilitating the community by razing all the crack houses and rounding up all the drunk and stoned autoworkers to be incarcerated for an indeterminate time."
        Jon Acton
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DraGuLa
        I have to agree with this statement. I think unions are a joke in this day and age but I hate it that the little guy has to make all of the concessions when it was poor management that took the Big 2.5 to the brink. There needs to be a huge reassessment of executive compensation. The CAW saw there relavance slip away when they were forced to merge with a bigger and stronger union.
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DraGuLa
        How true.
      swtdreamluvr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't buy anything made by unions anymore.....................greedy libs
        Jim Thurin
        • 2 Years Ago
        @swtdreamluvr
        So if you get mugged or your house is on fire, I guess you won't call the police or fire departments, right?
          Jefe Grande
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jim Thurin
          Jim, most people are forced to pay for these services regardless of whether they want to or not (though those without a source of income get them gratis, since they are handed money from others via taxation / redistribution, so they in fact pay nothing, not even sales tax since it's not their money to begin with). That being said, firemen and police have been documented abusing the taxpayers like African children left, right, and center over the past years. Many make exorbitant salaries (some over $400,000 a year, yes, that's not a typo), and they have been known to call in sick for each other in order to cheat overtime systems, discourage new hiring in order to clock more hours, blatantly lie about time spent on the job, etc. (One example: http://nevadanewsandviews.com/archives/5287) Anytime an industry sources its revenue from a third party, there is a lack of accountability to the consumer. I advocate a system of full privatization, for both fire departments and police departments. This would not only be cheaper for the average citizen, but also provide much more responsive and comprehensive coverage. Police, as it stands, have no obligation to help you. This is fact, as established by the Supreme Court. "Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981) is an oft-quoted[2] District of Columbia Court of Appeals (equivalent to a state supreme court) case that held police do not have a duty to provide police services to individuals, even if a dispatcher promises help to be on the way, except when police develop a special duty to particular individuals." Would you not rather have a police department that operates on a direct contract with you as a citizen? This would give you full financial control, the ability to shop around for the best team, fire or not renew incompetent teams, etc. As for fire departments, the same thing applies. There are numerous examples of fire departments that operate privately, efficiently, and humanely. Many are more than willing to put out fires of those who are not even subscribers (rather than letting houses burn down due to lack of payment), they just send a bill afterward as a single charge. Or, contrarily, there are also systems that operate fully on voluntary donations and servicemen. The entire nation of Chile, for instance, is serviced by voluntary firefighters. Guess what? They haven't had trouble with buildings burning down or houses going up in flames everywhere you look. In short, this argument is a tired and inaccurate example of the ingrained mentality that many residents hold onto as if it is truth. It simply isn't. Please read a little beneath the surface and be skeptical about things if you haven't really researched them. It's better that you end up looking unsure than looking like an ignorant sheep.
      A P
      • 2 Years Ago
      CAW the UAW are corrupt dirtbabs....just a cash register for the Democratic party.......look at the teachers union in chicago....they are bitching about working 10 months a year with an average salary of $76K BEFORE benefits! Then they have the NERVE to be pissed when asked to pay more than 3% of their own medical insurance. BUST THE UNIONS NOW!
        Daniel D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        I'm with you A P. The sooner everyone is as unhappy as you, the better for the country. People getting ahead make me mad too!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        [blocked]
      jdwlor
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why are the nonunion workers so upset with union wokers? Don't you know that when a union worker makes more money it helps your chances of makeing more,or are you so afraid to stand up to business that you will take their crapp.if it wasn't for the unions you would still be working for the man,liveing in his tar paper shacks buying from his store.Worker against worker no winner.
        Daniel D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jdwlor
        Tall poppy syndrome. When peoples wages or conditions are crap compared to someone else, people don't ask constructive questions like "How do I get myself in a better position" they just want to tear the other person down so they are as poor and miserable as them. Sad, but very common trait in people, which coincidentally is exploited by those in business to keep costs down. They have almost convinced some its Un-American to want a middle class lifestyle.
      geneg
      • 2 Years Ago
      People forget that many of these perks such as pensions were common when many of the employees under this contract started working. The fact that they are too favorable to the unions is strictly the fault of the executives of that period. They needed to show profits then to keep stock prices high to justify their obscene salaries. So the unions took the offer of better pensions and job security over raises over that time. That allowed the executives to push the problems down the road. Those of you who say it is crazy they get these perks if someone offer you ful retirement at 50 you wouldn't take. If you say yes you are full of it. You also don't know the whole story and just listen to what people tell you. You have the right to your opinion but not the facts. This scenario has been going on in eve ry industry over the past 30 - 40 years and is part of the reason for the inequity in pay between management and the workers. If you are so worried about
        Paul
        • 2 Years Ago
        @geneg
        you have one of the most educated responses on here
        IOMTT
        • 2 Years Ago
        @geneg
        Definition of short sightedness. Where else do we see a similar management style? Every party must end some time. Last Call.
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