December 10, 2007

CAW Council votes in support of Magna agreement

Toronto, Ontario – Delegates to the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) Council in Toronto have overwhelmingly endorsed the union’s Framework of Fairness Agreement with auto parts manufacturer Magna. After a lengthy debate, more than 800 council delegates voted on the issue, with approximately 25 delegates opposed.

The delegates debated the issue for four hours on Friday; several speakers outlined strong concerns regarding the Magna agreement, but delegates from across all sectors of the union spoke in favour of providing Magna workers with the opportunity to join the CAW and make progress through collective bargaining. In his speech, CAW president Buzz Hargrove said the agreement provides the union with an opportunity to bring 18,000 new members into the CAW.

“At a tough time for auto assembly, auto parts and manufacturing workers in Canada, this decision creates a new window of opportunity for workers to be able to join our union,” Hargrove said. “We must push to maintain a strong level of union density within the auto sector in Canada. Keeping union density high within the auto sector is critical to the future bargaining success for all workers.”

The union stated that union density in Canada’s private sector has been cut in half since the early 1970s, and was at 17 per cent in 2006. In the U.S., private sector union density is now below eight per cent.

In November, more than 250 workers at Windsor Modules, a division of Magna, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a first collective agreement negotiated by the CAW, and to join the union under the Framework of Fairness Agreement.

The new Magna-CAW national collective agreement includes provisions for collective bargaining issues settled through binding arbitration, without the option of strikes or lockouts.

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