Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) says that while it will consider ways to reduce costs at the Big Three automakers, a UAW-style two-tier wage system and other concessions are “non-starters” for Canadian auto workers, according to CAW president Buzz Hargrove.

Hargrove and CAW economist Jim Stanford outlined the importance of negotiating a new contract at the three automakers that reflects the Canadian reality, which they said is a Canadian agreement for Canadian workers that is not a “rubber stamp” of recent U.S. negotiations. Hargrove said that the rising value of the Canadian dollar, unfair trade and the flood of imports into the North American market have created major challenges.

“This is the most difficult set of negotiations we’ve ever experienced,” Hargrove said, adding that the CAW will look at costs and improving productivity and quality, but will not accept two-tier wages and the second class of workers they create in auto plants. Also unacceptable are cuts in wages, cost of living allowances, time off the job or benefits, including pension indexing or health care cuts for retirees.

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