Toronto, Ontario – Thousands of Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) members working at three Chrysler facilities in Ontario have voted 87 per cent in favour of a new restructuring agreement. The union and the automaker reached the agreement on April 24.
The deal is the second cost-cutting agreement reached between the CAW and Chrysler in less than a year, and includes benefit cuts, a reduction in time off and relief time, and the formation of the Canadian Health Care Trust Fund, the first of its kind of Canada.
CAW president Ken Lewenza said that the deal will be the basis for negotiating new agreements with General Motors and Ford. No dates have been set for negotiations for either of those two companies.
“Our members understand better than anyone the current turmoil of the domestic auto industry,” Lewenza said. “The high acceptance of this agreement is a recognition that although workers did not cause this crisis, we all have an interest in maintaining good jobs and ensuring the auto industry remains central to the overall Canadian economy.”
Chrysler had earlier threatened to move production from Canada unless the union made deep concessions. Fiat, which is in negotiations with Chrysler in the U.S. for a possible partnership, also said that it would abandon its efforts if unionized workers did not accept cuts, with Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne specifically mentioning the CAW.