July 18, 2002
Ford opens talks with CAW union in a “different environment”
Toronto, Ontario – Tim Hartmann, Vice President, Human Resources of the Ford Motor Company of Canada issued a statement following the opening round of talks with the CAW union on Wednesday.
“During our last round of bargaining in 1999, the CAW selected Ford of Canada as the target company and we had the opportunity to fashion the current agreement – an agreement that worked well for us and for our employees. At that time, bargaining took place in a period of relatively high volume and sustained profitability in North America. Our profits allowed us to continue to invest in Canada in product and facilities. But now we’re being confronted with significant competitive challenges in a very different environment unlike any we have seen before.”
Hartmann reiterated that Ford is closing five plants in the U.S. and Canada, including the Ontario Truck Plant in Oakville, Ontario. Hartmann also mentioned that the Big 3 are competing with transplant competitors “who don’t have to fund our levels of retiree and health care costs.”
“We have every intention to work closely with the Canadian Auto Workers during bargaining to best address the needs of our employees. But we must do this during a time of significant restructuring of Ford’s North American operations,” said Hartmann. “We now have several months of hard work ahead of us. I would also add that it would be premature to begin to discuss the specifics of these negotiations which are just now under way.”