Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) is “optimistic” that restructuring decisions regarding Chrysler represent the beginning of a brighter future for the new company. The union said that the new cost-saving collective agreement that it recently reached with Chrysler will remain intact.

“It is shocking that a company with Chrysler’s stature and history should be forced into bankruptcy protection,” said CAW president Ken Lewenza. “But this development is just one part of a bigger process that we hope will reposition the company for recovery and future success.”

The union said it is not clear whether developments in the U.S. will cause Chrysler to seek similar protection in Canada.

Lewenza also expressed outrage that the bankruptcy protection was forced by stakeholders who did not accept concessions. “It is infuriating that a couple of hedge funds caused this to happen,” he said. “After all, it was financial speculators, not auto workers, who created this crisis in the first place. And now they are the ones pulling the plug.”

The union chief also stressed the need to develop a broader national auto strategy to reinforce the industry’s underlying fundamentals in the future. “It’s essential to help the industry survive the side effects of the global financial crisis,” Lewenza said. “But we also need a long-term vision to build this industry well into the future, one that addresses key challenges like infrastructure, the environment, and trade imbalances.” Lewenza called on the federal government to recommit to the work of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, a multi-stakeholder body which has been developing a long-run industrial policy for the automotive sector.

Chrysler employs more than 8,000 CAW members at four facilities in Canada.

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