October 15, 2002

CAW union rejects DaimlerChrysler offer – strike looms

Toronto, Ontario – DaimlerChrysler’s first offer to the Canadian Auto Workers was soundly rejected on Monday. CAW president, Buzz Hargrove, complained that the company was asking for, “a host of concessions that take away the quality of work life of our members.”

The CAW has set a strike deadline of 11:59 pm. Tuesday, October 15th.

“DaimlerChrysler’s stubbornness will put us on strike at midnight tomorrow night,” said Hargrove, “with no commitment to Pillette Road and demanding concessions in work rules we’ve had for 20 years.” DaimlerChrysler’s Pillette Road plant is due to be closed in 2003 with more than 1,200 workers to be laid off.

“DaimlerChrysler tells us there’s no business case for a product for Pillette. What they have offered us is smoke and mirrors. Jobs will be created but only under the most optimistic scenario, and with no guarantee of what happens if the jobs aren’t there,” said Hargrove.

CAW bargaining committee chairperson, Ken Lewenza, said, “We bargained a $600 million commitment in 1999 and a new product. In 2000 they committed $1.5 billion dollars for Pillette, they spent $100 million before they pulled the plug. We need a renewed $600 million investment commitment and a new product for the future of our members and our community. DaimlerChrysler announced $5 billion in investments in countries such as Japan, Korea and the U.S. Why not Pillette Road?”

Hargrove was adamant that the union will not allow any erosion of existing working conditions and benefits.

“We’re not going to sell our member’s relief time; we’re not going to sell full-time jobs by increasing the use of TPT’s; we’re not going to erode seniority provisions in our contract; we’re not going to give up the 110 day letter in Brampton and Windsor and go back to the old days when the company determined the rules 365 days a year; we’re not going to give in to demands for weekend work at straight time in Etobicoke; the company is demanding the office membership give up provisions that protect them from contracting out; the security guards full-time jobs are being threatened by increased use of TPT’s.”

“Canada was on the map in 1999 bargaining; today it appears that they’re trying to make Canada a second or third class nation. The membership, their families, and the community have earned the investment here. We’ve sacrificed – 3000 lost jobs in Canada – which helped to turn DaimlerChrysler around; we’ve got the highest productivity of their Western Hemisphere operations; we deserve the respect of new investment,” said Hargrove.

Negotiations are continuing.

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