CAW makes progress with Ford as contract talks continue
CAW president Ken Lewenza speaks at a Canadian Auto Workers' press conference in this 2012 file photo. (Michelle Siu / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Sunday, September 16, 2012 3:02PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 16, 2012 8:01PM EDT
The Canadian Auto Workers on Sunday said Ford motor company has shown a willingness to reach a new contract deal, as negotiations continue.
Speaking at press conference Sunday afternoon in Toronto, CAW president Ken Lewenza said out of the Big Three auto companies, Ford has shown the most initiative, as well as “a tremendous amount of respect” during the negotiations.
As the deadline to reach an agreement looms, CAW will focus its efforts on reaching a deal with Ford while continuing to push the other two of the Big Three automakers, Chrysler and General Motors, Lewenza said.
Contract talks with the three auto companies began in mid-August.
The companies want to cut the salaries permanently for new hires, something the CAW will not accept. The union has instead suggested that new workers get paid less at first and then work towards higher wages, which would take longer than it previously had.
Lewenza said Sunday that Ford has not said it is completely against the proposal.
"Ford isn't philosophically opposed to anything other than to say, 'Folks, keep your costs down, keep it manageable,' and (then) we can share in the success with the company together,” Lewenza said.
He said that while Ford "hasn't promised anything,” the company has agreed in principle to some of the union’s ideas.
Unless the two sides reach an agreement by Monday at 11:59 p.m, 21,000 union members could go on strike. An extension on the deadline is possible if talks go well in the final hours, Lewenza said Sunday.
"If we see light at the end of the tunnel then we're going to keep working until it shines on an agreement," he said.
A spokesperson for Chrysler told The Canadian Press Sunday the company is “concerned” that the union is focusing its efforts on Ford, while General Motors only said that negotiations are ongoing.
With files from The Canadian Press