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Canadian Auto Workers Push to Unionize Toyota

Vote could come soon.

by on Jun.05, 2014

Unifor President Jerry Diaz said the union plans to hold a vote allowing Toyota workers in Canadian plants to join Unifor.

Unifor, the giant Canadian labor organization seeking to organize workers at Toyota’s assembly plants in Ontario, expects to have the employees of the Japanese automaker vote on whether to join the union sooner rather than later.

A successful vote would be a major coup for Unifor, which recently absorbed the Canadian Auto Workers Union. The CAW had long struggled and failed to organize the many so-called “transplant” assembly lines in Canada. It might also provide some much-needed momentum for the Detroit-based United Auto Workers Union which has been able to rally workers at foreign-owned assembly plants in the U.S.

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Unifor President Jerry Diaz told reporters after a speech at the UAW convention in Detroit that the Canadian labor group has collected more than 3,000 cards from Toyota employees across Ontario asking to join Uniifor. The organization is an amalgam of the old Canadian Auto Workers and several other Canadian unions, including communication and paper workers. (more…)

Toyota Workers in Canada May Join Union

Vote to join Unifor could occur next week.

by on Apr.03, 2014

Unifor Pres. Jerry Dias is the union's new leader. The union is pushing to hold a vote allowing Toyota workers in Canadian plants to join Unifor.

Workers at Toyota plants in Ontario could vote next week on whether to join Unifor, the successor to the Canadian Auto Workers union, which now represents employees at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford plants across the Canadian province.

The upcoming vote follows several failed attempts by the CAW to organize workers at the Toyota and Honda plants in Ontario. Unifor, however, believes workers are more receptive to the union’s appeal because of several recent changes in the way Toyota operates the plants, including a switch to a 10-hour day.

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Workers are also concerned about Toyota’s growing use of contract and temporary employees, who have a separate compensation system, according to Unifor officials. (more…)

Canadian Workers Settle With GM

Automaker gives in on "pattern" contract.

by on Sep.21, 2012

GM will maintain some Impala production in Canada.

Days after coming to terms with Ford Motor Co., the Canadian Auto Workers Union has reached a settlement with General Motors heading off a potentially costly strike.

Despite concerns that GM would demand a unique settlement it largely settled for the same pattern contract negotiated with Ford earlier in the week. That leaves only Chrysler to settle on a new 4-year agreement – though the maker has consistently argued it needs to break pattern and come up with a contract that reflects its own unique needs.

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“We met the entire Ford pattern,” boasted CAW President Ken Lewenza following settlement on the GM contract.

The agreement will result in GM getting some significant concessions on labor costs but also ensure that no senior workers are on layoff for the first time in two decades. The maker has also agreed to significant new investments at two key Canadian GM plants.

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Canadian Auto Workers Settle with Ford, Now Target GM, Chrysler

Ford agrees to increased investments but new workers will get lower pay.

by on Sep.18, 2012

A strike by the CAW could have disrupted production of the Ford Edge and other crossovers.

A last-minute deal between Ford Motor Co. and the Canadian Auto Workers Union has averted a threatened strike by thousands of workers that could have disrupted production of vehicles such as the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKT.

But walkouts still look for the other members of the Detroit Big Three.  Chrysler and General Motors Corp. now must negotiate their own settlements with the CAW – which the union expects will follow the pattern set at Ford.  Both GM and Chrysler are asking for more time to study the terms of the Ford deal, postponing a possible confrontation.

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The CAW Monday wrapped up a four-year contract with Ford that froze the wages of current employees and reduced the starting pay for new employees, who will now have to wait 10 years to reach full parity with senior workers. But the union did achieve one key victory: it was able to prevent the creation of a full, two-tier wage structure like the one now in place on Ford assembly lines in the United States.

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Canadian Strike Looms; Could Cripple Detroit’s Big Three

Makers demanding additional concessions.

by on Sep.11, 2012

Workers at the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario could soon be out on strike.

Detroit’s Big Three automakers appear to be heading for a showdown with Canadian workers that could cripple their entire North American production network.

Claiming Canada is now the industry’s high-cost manufacturing base, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are each demanding concessions from the Canadian Auto Workers Union – including a two-tier wage structure like one the makers have set up in the States. But the CAW is digging in its heels and workers have authorized their leaders to call a strike if negotiations deadlock when the current Big Three contracts expire next week.

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“With only a week until the collective agreement expires, the demands facing the CAW have not relented, with all three companies calling for dramatic changes to the contract,” a flier distributed to workers by the union warned.

A walkout could lead to shortages of key products, such as the new Cadillac XTS and Chrysler’s 300 sedan and its two minivan models. And the loss of parts produced at Canadian facilities could create havoc on American assembly plants, as well, industry analysts warn.

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Canadian Workers Reject Demand for Concessions

Has Canada become “the most expensive place in the world to build a car”?

by on Aug.15, 2012

High Canadian labor costs have led GM to move production of the Chevrolet Equinox from Oshawa, Ontario to Spring Hill, TN.

Negotiations between Detroit’s three automaker and the Canadian Auto Workers Union have gotten underway in Toronto. And with the CAW’s contract with the automakers expiring in mid-September there could be trouble ahead.

The talks are expected to be difficult because the rising value of the Canadian dollar has made General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler plants more expensive to operate – leading the makers to hint they’ll press for new concessions. But CAW leaders are clearly reluctant to depart from the traditional contract elements, such as an annual wage increase, in favor of profit sharing, which the American car makers are expected to demand.

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Ken Lewenza, CAW president, also has indicated he is dissatisfied with the Canadian government failure to come to the aid of the country’s auto industry. Other industrial nations, including the United States, have found ways to help their auto industry, he noted in an opinion piece he wrote for a Canadian newspaper. Canada has done little since participating in the auto bailout in 2009.

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The 2010 Union-Made Vehicles List Now Available

Some offshore brands are actually union made.

by on Sep.18, 2009

Look for the union VIN?

Look for the union VIN?

UAW members working in the domestic auto industry, said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, “are pleased to see a recent Consumer Reports survey, which shows that four out of five new car buyers are likely to consider an American brand when purchasing a vehicle.

The UAW has prepared  a list of 2010 union-made cars, trucks, pickups, vans, CUVs and SUV to help them when shopping..

Union-made vehicles have been recognized repeatedly for quality achievements by industry analysts such as J.D. Power and the University of Michigan Consumer Satisfaction Survey. The problem is that while quality has been improving and people say they will consider domestic products, the majority of actual purchases go to off-shore nameplates, some of which are built in North America in non-union plants.

The last offshore-operated unionized plant, Toyota’s New United Motors Manufacturing Inc., is in the process of being closed, after General Motors and the Japanese company couldn’t reach an agreement on how to keep it operating.

“When customers visit the showroom to look at vehicles made by our members, they’re going to find top-quality cars and trucks in every price range and in every product category.”

Union autoworkers, he said, make vehicles for U.S., European and Asian-based manufacturers, including hybrids, clean diesels and energy-saving advanced transmission and flex-fuel models.

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