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CAW reaches tentative contract agreement with GM


“There are still a number of challenging issues to work through,” said CAW leader Ken Lewenza in a statement Wednesday. “We’re not there yet, but as long as we keep making progress at the bargaining table, we will continue to negotiate.”

The Canadian Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement with General Motors that is says preserves all the features of the pattern laid down by the Ford agreement from Monday.

The deal allows GM to cut costs and also preserve jobs, CAW national president Ken Lewenza told a press conference late Thursday.

“By the end of the collective agreement the seniority workforce will be fully employed,” Lewenza said.

The deal offsets the impact of a previously announced closure of GM’s consolidated line in Oshawa. The line employs 2,000 people.

The deal avoids a permanent two-tier wage system, which had been a major sticking point earlier in the day, Lewenza said.

Among the commitments in the agreement, GM said it would create a third shift at its flex plant in Oshawa starting next year. The move will create 900 jobs.

At the consolidated plant, production will be extended until June 2014, preserving 750 jobs.

Also, the category of temporary worker, a lower paid group, has been restricted.

The consolidated plant could get a second shift in June 2014, but, if not, the laid-off workers will get full benefits, he said.

The 8,000 CAW workers at GM will get the same deal as Ford.

That means new hires come in at a lower rate, $ 20 an hour instead of $ 24, and take longer to reach the top rate — 10 years instead of six years. The top rate is $ 34.

They also receive a hybrid pension plan that combines a defined benefit plan with a defined contribution plan.

Existing employees will receive annual bonuses instead of a pay raise. The four-year deal includes a $ 3,000 signing bonus and annual bonuses of $ 2,000 in each of the following three years. – Business