Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) has announced it has opened exploratory talks with General Motors, in an effort to assist the automaker through its restructuring program.

CAW president Ken Lewenza said the negotiations aim to ensure Canada maintains its industrial footprint for auto production in North America.

“We will approach these exploratory talks with the intent of reaching consensus with General Motors on how to address the needs of the company in its Canadian operations,” Lewenza said. “At the same time, our negotiating position will start with the understanding that Canada already has a labour cost and productivity advantage over other automakers in the U.S. and Japan.”

The talks began on March 5 and will be followed with negotiations at Ford and Chrysler, although the union said it has not yet determined which of the two will be next in line. The federal and Ontario governments have set a deadline of March 31 for the automakers to issue their complete restructuring plans.

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