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Ford brand's U.S.
sales top 2
million for first
time since 2007

Dec 2011
Partsline
Now Available

CAW working on biggest
union merger ever

For Ford, Canada
is the 51st state

The Word - CAW Organizing
Newsletter - Dec 2011

Japan's Canadian auto
units want Ottawa to
strike free-trade deal

Melony Luffman
Resigns As Benefit Rep

Chairperson's Meeting Report November 12, 2011

Mike Vince's Retirement
Dinner, Nov 12, 2011

Photos of Jersey Day
November 2011

Retiree settlement closes
book on GM bailout

Ford doubles down on
flagging Flex for 2013

Ford of Canada sales lead
the market year-to-date

Ford Motor Co. Reports
$1.65B 3Q Earnings

Ford Of Canada Appoints
New President

Retiree Cliff Pilatzke Passes
Away October 18, 2011

Ford workers OK UAW deal

US. Ford workers closer to
ratifying UAW contract

Mich. plants reject Ford pact

CAW pressured by
Ford-UAW deal

St Thomas Then & Now

UAW - Ford October 2011 Contract Summary

Ford, UAW reach tentative deal on new 4-year contract

Brampton Guardian Article
for CAW Local 584 Food Drive

INPLANT REPORT Sept 2011

Debbie Pike Passes Away
September 20, 2011

Last Crown Vic Built at
The St Thomas Plant

UAW wants richer Ford deal

UAW Summary of the GM tentative Contract Settlement

GM and UAW Reach Labor Agreement, Ratification Pending

Toronto Labour Day Parade
September 5, 2011

Port Elgin Labour Day
Parade Sept 5, 2011

Highway to Help riders roll
in to St. Thomas

Taking it on the chin—
again! - Nortel

UAW chief endorses
profit sharing

Ford seeks government aid to retool Ontario plant

Fall Schedule for the PEL courses being offered in Port Elgin

Wellness - Age Well Bulletin

Out of Equilibrium: The Impact of Canada-European Union Free Trade in the Real World

Hatchback models opening
new door with U.S. buyers

Ford Canada Posts
Best June in 22 Years

2011 Summer Edition
CAW Local 584
Partsline

CAW Local 2002 Members Overwhelmingly Approve New Agreement at Air Canada

Ford's Fields says June
sales could best May's

Sharon Burton's Retirement
Dinner June 10, 2011

Air Canada Rally
Toronto Airport
June 9, 2011

2011 Government
Beneit Rates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



2011

2011 CAW Contact Issues


Dec 23, 2011
Dec 16, 2011

Dec 9, 2011

Nov 25, 2011

Nov 18, 2011

Nov 11, 2011

Nov 4, 2011

Oct 28, 2011

Oct 21, 2011
Oct 14, 2011
Oct 8, 2011
Oct 1, 2011
Sept 23, 2011
Sept 16, 2011
Sept 16, 2011
Sept 9, 2011
Aug 26, 2011
Aug 12, 2011
July 28, 2011
July 14, 2011
Jun 30, 2011

 

 

Ford brand's U.S. sales
top 2 million for first
time since 2007

A 2012 Ford Focus and a 2012 Ford Fiesta at the Maroone Ford of Miami dealership in Miami. Smaller cars are on pace for a sales increase of more than 20 percent this year, Ford said today. (Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Sat December 31, 2011
By Mark Clothier Bloomberg News

Ford Motor Co. said its namesake brand exceeded 2 million U.S. sales for the first year since 2007, led by gains for models such as the Fiesta small car and revamped Explorer sport-utility vehicle.

Smaller cars such as the Fiesta and Focus are on pace for a sales increase of more than 20 percent this year while light trucks that include the Explorer, Escape SUV and F-150 pickup may rise at least 30 percent, the Dearborn-based company said Friday in a statement.

Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, is benefiting from an auto market that rose 10 percent through November from a year earlier. The company's sales also got a boost from vehicles such as the Fiesta, which debuted in the U.S. in June 2010 and has more than tripled this year through last month, and the Explorer, which has more than doubled.

"The industry sales rate has exceeded 13 million in each of the last three months," Ken Czubay, Ford's vice president for U.S. sales and marketing, said in the statement. "This suggests the current momentum is not an aberration."

Ford-brand sales gained 18 percent to 1.86 million through November, compared with 1.76 million for all of 2010. Ford's total U.S. sales through November increased 11 percent.

The automaker reported net income of $6.6 billion in this year's first nine months. Ford gained consumer consideration as it managed to avoid the bankruptcies that befell its U.S. rivals in 2009. The company borrowed $23.4 billion in late 2006 before credit markets froze, giving it the cash to weather the recession and invest in new models.

Ford rose 0.5 percent to $10.73 at 10:39 a.m. in New York. The shares had fallen 36 percent this year before Friday.

 

 

CAW CONTACT
December 23, 2011
Volume 41, No. 46


 

CAW Donates to 46 Food Banks Across Canada

The Mustard Seed Food Bank receives a cheque from CAW Local 4276, 333 and 114 leadership in Victoria, British Columbia on behalf of the CAW national union. Mustard Seed Food Bank Director Brent Palmer, left, holds the cheque being presented by Ben Williams, CAW Local 333 BC Transit President and in the middle is Jeannie Blaney, CAW Local 114 representative. The rest of the group is from the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

The CAW is contributing $135,000 to food banks from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, as part of an annual donation to ease hunger.

"The increasing use of food banks demonstrates the growing inequality in our society," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"In a nation that generates so much wealth for a privileged elite, there are so many more people and families who are not sharing in that prosperity. We must all ensure that no one is left behind and remember it's completely unacceptable that people go hungry in such a wealthy country during the holiday season or at any other time," Lewenza said.

A recent study shows that as of October 2011, 850,000 Canadians were relying on food banks, which is the second highest month on record. The reliance on food banks has steadily grown in recent years - especially since the first food bank in Canada opened its doors in 1981 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Here are some startling facts from a Food Banks Canada HungerCount survey in March 2011:

- 93,085 people or 11 per cent of the total received help from a food bank for the first time during the survey period;
- food bank use in 2011 was 20 per cent higher than 2001;
- 38 per cent of those receiving food were children and youth under the age of 18.

Lewenza said a major reason for high levels of poverty is the loss of good paying, full time jobs. "We must all recognize that when you lose good paying jobs and bring in part-time precarious work, low paying jobs you're increasing the level of poverty," Lewenza said.

According to the Canadian Payroll Association, 57 per cent of Canadians state "they would be in financial difficulty if their pay cheque was delayed by a week."

In addition to the $135,000 donation, which comes from the CAW Social Justice Fund and CAW Council, many CAW local unions perform community work and provide additional financial help to local food banks.

Spencer ARL Parts Plant Opens in Niagara Falls

A new auto parts manufacturing facility has officially opened in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Niagara Falls City Councillors attended a brief opening ceremony on December 14 for Spencer ARL, which is part of the supply chain for the new GM transmission assembly line at the St. Catharines, General Motors Engine Plant.

The new manufacturing facility currently has 25 employees and is expected to grow to more than 100 people as production increases.

As members of management, city councillors and employees looked on Wayne Gates, president of CAW Local 199, who represents the employees at Spencer ARL, said he was very proud of his members.

"These employees are a highly qualified and skilled workforce," Gates said, adding that most of the new employees worked at either Edscha or Affinia, two former CAW units. "When these workers lost their jobs and stopped paying union dues we never turned our back on them."

"We supported them through a very difficult period. We offered assistance to get them retrained, with resume writing and other job search skills through the CAW Action Centre, ultimately helping them to find a good paying job," said Gates, who is also a Niagara Falls City Councillor.

"I've been doing this for over 30 years and this is the proudest I have ever been of our union, getting these brothers and sisters back to work," Gates said.


Guatemala Hope

By Rachelle Cohoe, CAW Local 444

My husband (Scott Walker) and myself were fortunate to spend time in El Triunfo in Guatemala doing mission work in November. "Guatemala Hope" is a mission from Woodslee, Ontario, which started helping people in the village 10 years ago.

Our week-and-a-half medical mission entailed cooking, working in the clinic, visiting churches and working with children. When on our mission, all the volunteers lived in the village, sleeping in tents and working long rewarding hours.

When Guatemala Hope first started doing mission work in the village, the living environment was very different compared to today. Most homes were made from sticks and tarps with dirt floors and most children didn't have clothes to wear. Today we have raised money to help build cinder block homes, cement floors and provide clean drinking water.

We have offered cooking classes, eye care clinics where glasses were offered to people who needed them, medical clinics where some people were provided with wheel chairs, operations were paid for, had wounds cleaned and gave much needed medicine to very sick people.

Some families still cook over open fire in their homes which is causing asthma in many children. Through education, and additional resources we hope to solve this issue. Mission work is a long process; however it's so amazing to see the wonderful changes which have been made over the years.

The work that we do in the village is exhausting, but at the same time empowering. It's so amazing to hear the sound of laughter from the children in such hardship. Hungry bellies, dirty feet, hot weather (39C), however we see smiling faces, and hear giggling voices of innocent children who know no differently, this is what encourages us to go back and continue to help our friends.

If you are interested in doing mission work or sponsoring a child to provide education, please visit our website at http://www.guatemalahope.ca

Tell us about your Charitable Work

If someone from your local is involved in charity work and you would like to share it with Contact readers please send your story and pictures to cawcomm@caw.ca
Please be brief and we will try to include your story.


CAW Bursaries: April 30 Deadline

The CAW National Union and CAW Council offer a total of 25 bursaries to students entering their first year of post secondary education.

These bursaries are $2,000 each and are awarded to sons/daughters of CAW members in good standing who are entering their first year of full-time post secondary education in a Canadian institution.

One bursary is available for CAW members with at least one year of seniority who is attending their first year of full-time post secondary education.

Submissions should include:

- an official application form, signed by a local union officer;
- a letter of recommendation from a teacher, principal or community activist;
- transcript/record of marks.

Grades are only one of several factors that are considered. A committee appointed by the CAW Council Executive Board and/or the CAW National Executive Board makes the selections.

Submit completed applications to:


CAW National Office
Education Department
205 Placer Court, North York, ON., M2H 3H9
Attention: Lisa Kelly, Director of Education

The deadline is April 30, 2012. Application forms can be found on the CAW website at www.caw.ca/education Please click on CAW Bursaries.

New Chevrolet Impala to be Built in Oshawa



CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley, CAW National President Ken Lewenza, GM Oshawa Plant Manager Dan Hermer, GM Canada President Kevin Williams, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid were at the official announcement that GM will build the new version of the Chevy Impala in Oshawa, Ontario. The $68 million investment secures 350 jobs, but Buckley appealed to government and GM management to also save the consolidated production line at GM. The new Impala will be built on the flex line starting in 2013.

(Photo by Joe Sarnovsky, CAW Local 222)


 

CAW Contact
December 16, 2011
Volume 41, No. 45


 

CAW President Raises Concerns Over Canada- U.S. Border Deal

CAW President Ken Lewenza is raising concerns about the new Canada-U.S. border deal announced December 7 in Washington, D.C.

Lewenza indicated the CAW supports concrete measures to speed traffic flow and decrease congestion at the border. However, he noted that most of the initiatives and pilot projects announced in the deal focus on new measures to tighten security and harmonize business regulations, and that these measures offer no direct benefit for the efficiency of border traffic.

"The crucial bottlenecks in border traffic stem from a lack of infrastructure and a lack of resources," Lewenza said. "We need more bridges, more inspection lanes, and more border guards. But this agreement is focused on the tighter integration of security information and policing, and the elimination of business regulations that have no relationship to the border whatsoever."

Lewenza expressed concern about the new Regulatory Cooperation Council, which will harmonize Canadian business regulations with existing U.S. laws. While this will save money and inconvenience for some corporations selling into the Canadian market, the process may heighten risks for Canadian consumers.

"This is not about a supposed 'trade-off' between border efficiency and Canadian sovereignty. This is about rewriting Canadian regulations to make them more convenient to corporations."

A deep and automatic integration of information and security practices could also pose significant risks to Canadians, said Lewenza. He stressed that any information sharing procedures must contain "strong checks and balances" to ensure they are fully consistent with Canadian privacy standards and Charter rights.

Legislative changes now permit U.S. authorities to conduct widespread routine surveillance on their own citizens, to arrest and hold suspected "terrorists" without traditional legal protections, to seize assets, and other measures unacceptable in Canada. "Canadians must absolutely be protected against such abuses, as a number one priority of our government."

December 6 Memorial in Windsor

On December 6, 2011 the CAW Local 444 Women's Committee remembered the 14 women who were murdered at L'École Polytechnique, also known as the Montreal Massacre in 1989. Participants held a special ceremony at the Memorial Stone for Mary Lou (last name withheld) outside of the Windsor Assembly Plant. Mary Lou was a former CAW Local 444 member who was working at Plant Six at the time when she was murdered by her spouse in January 1998. A wreath and white carnations were placed at the stone and a white ribbon was tied to a tree.

Kyoto Pull-Out Sets Canada on Wrong Economic Track, CAW says

The Harper government's decision to pull Canada out of the Kyoto Protocol is not only a devastating blow to the country's efforts to combat climate change, but it will further hamper the creation of good, value-added jobs in green energy and energy conservation industries, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"Stephen Harper is suggesting that Canadians accept a business-as-usual approach to the global climate crisis and is creating a false conflict between economic growth and environmental action that's wrong-headed and unjustified," Lewenza said.

Lewenza said that in the wake of the hollowing out of Canada's industrial sector (particularly in manufacturing), the Kyoto Protocol (and green energy strategies more generally) provides a mechanism for government to maximize the economic opportunities associated with cleaning up industrial pollution, encouraging innovative carbon-reducing technologies, and stimulating new value-added sectors of our economy.
Adapting to a carbon-constrained world actually represents huge job creating potential for Canadians, Lewenza said.

"Many economists, and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, have been emphasizing that Canada's
economy desperately needs more business capital spending to escape this stubborn recession," Lewenza pointed out. "What could be better than using supportive regulations and policies to fulfill our Kyoto commitments, even if belatedly, and stimulate major capital spending in energy conservation, green energy, and green transportation?"

"Instead, this government has elected to obstruct global progress on climate change, and put all our economic eggs in the basket of petroleum extraction and export," Lewenza said.

The CAW, supported the ratification and implementation of Kyoto in 2002. The CAW has since championed efforts to help combat climate change, particularly in the area of sustainable transportation, (visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10639.htm to read: We Make It Move: A Vision for Sustainable Transportation).

Lewenza also urged the federal government to impose tighter regulations on tar sands developments, which have been the dominant source of Canadian emissions growth in recent years. The union's proposals include prohibition of foreign takeovers of petroleum resources, caps on future emissions growth from the industry, and Canadian content targets for machinery and equipment purchases and bitumen refining.


Transgender Rights Bill: Take Action

A bill has been reintroduced in the House of Commons to ensure greater protections for transgender people by NDP LGBT critic Randall Garrison.

The Private Members' Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression) will bring explicit protections for transgender people under the Canadian Human Rights Act and federal hate crimes legislation, to ensure protection from discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

An earlier private members' Bill C-389, which passed during the last Parliament after it was brought in by NDP MP Bill Siksay, had been awaiting Senate approval, when the federal election was called.

The CAW has been at the forefront in working towards dignity, respect and equality for all. Many CAW collective agreements have explicit protections for transgender people but there is more to be done to ensure protections for transgender members in society and those in unorganized workplaces.
Transgender people face higher levels of discrimination and violence, increased rates of underemployment, and often are denied housing and access to medical services.

The CAW is encouraging members to contact MPs who voted to support the previous Bill C-389, thank them for supporting progressive protections for transgender people and ask them to support the re-introduced bill. It will also be important to contact those re-elected MPs that did not support the previous bill and also newly elected MPs urging them to support Bill C-279, which was reintroduced on September 21.

Please follow the link for a list of MPs that were re-elected and supported Bill C-389.
http://www.caw.ca/assets/images/Re-Elected_MPs_support.pdf


CAW Local 584 Movember Campaign

CAW Local 584 has participated in the Movember campaign the last two years. With this year's campaign hitting closer to home due to chairperson Kim Clout's health struggle, Local 584 had 27 participants raise $1035 for prostate cancer research. Next year the local hopes to increase its donation and is considering a challenge to other locals.

Skilled Trades Bargaining And New Tech Conference: Reminder


The CAW's Skilled Trades Collective Bargaining and New Technology Conference is scheduled for February 22 to 24, 2012 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.

The deadline for registration is January 9, 2012. For more information about the conference please contact the CAW Skilled Trades Department at: trades@caw.ca


CAW Meets with Opposition Trade Critic on CETA

CAW President Ken Lewenza joined Windsor-area local union leadership in a meeting with Opposition Trade Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West) held on December 9 to discuss shared concerns around the proposed EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The proposed CETA could restrict the rights of provincial and local governments to craft effective purchasing policies. The CETA would also likely widen Canada's current trade deficit with Europe, further hamper manufacturing sector growth, increase health care costs and grant private investors the right to sue governments over policy decisions, among other issues. Masse expressed his frustration with the Harper government's closed-door negotiating process and criticized their brash efforts to sign more, wrong-headed, free trade deals. CETA talks are expected to wrap up in 2012.

 

CAW working on biggest
union merger ever

Tony Van Alphen
Toronto Star
Fri Dec 16 2011

Two of the country's most prominent unions are quietly holding merger talks in what could become the biggest consolidation in Canadian labour history.

In a response to harder times for organized labour in a tough economy, leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union revealed Thursday that discussions have started and will probably accelerate during the next few months.

"There's a lot of work left to do," said CAW president Ken Lewenza. "We're moving along but we're still at a preliminary stage and far off from a deal."

Labour watchers say a new union between the CAW, which represents about 200,000 workers, and CEP, which has about 125,000 members, would mark the biggest single merger in the history of the labour movement here. The CAW and CEP are already among the 10 biggest unions in Canada.

"This would certainly be the largest among mergers in the private sector," said Robert Hickey, an assistant professor of industrial relations at Queen's University.

Some unions in the public sector have merged their regional units into broader umbrella federations such as the National Union of Provincial Government Employees.

The merger talks come as top labour leaders are becoming increasingly worried about the waning influence of unions while corporations and governments wield more power that is undermining workers.

Furthermore, unions are trying to find more efficient ways to represent workers as membership levels remain flat or fall, and finances become tighter. It has prompted some smaller unions to look for bigger partners.

"We're trying to figure out how the labour movement is going to look in five years and how do we strengthen the commitment to our members," Lewenza said.

He revealed other unions have also discussed mergers with him but acknowledged that a tie-up with CEP is getting the most focus now. Other major unions are also talking to counterparts about possible mergers, he noted.

CEP began distributing a discussion paper internally to staff this week that outlines issues which both sides need to resolve before a merger could proceed.

Union president Dave Coles said the biggest issue facing CEP and CAW in any merger would be blending their "cultures." CEP is a more decentralized union with strong local autonomy while the CAW is more centralized, he noted.

"We just have to find a new model for both of us and it can be done," Coles said. "After all, we have a common enemy. That's one of the drivers in this whole process."

He said the Harper government is implementing far right conservative policies that are seriously weakening social benefit programs and favouring corporations over workers.

"They're leading us in a direction that I believe Canadians don't want to go and we're trying to use our economic clout through things like mergers to influence policy,' he added.

Noles said the two sides should be able to easily determine whether a merger can proceed within a year. It would need approval by delegates from each union at separate conventions.

"I think it would be a good fit," he said. "We're both Canadian unions with representation in many sectors."

CEP formed in a merger of the Canadian Paperworkers Union, Communications and Electrical Workers of Canada and the Energy and Chemical Workers Union in 1992.

Since then CEP has expanded by organizing and adding smaller union. It peaked at about 150,000 workers about five years ago but the last recession and turmoil in the forestry and manufacturing sectors have battered membership levels .

The CAW broke away from the United Auto Workers in 1985 and has added another 142,000 workers through 39 mergers. It topped 265,000 members during the last decade but the decline in manufacturing particularly the auto sector in southern Ontario has also slashed its numbers.

Meanwhile, Ken Neumann, national director for the United Steelworkers, said smaller unions are moving to bigger unions to help defend themselves against the global movement of capital, which has little regard for workers.

"The mergers that we've been involved in have made us a better union," said Neumann who represents about 210,000 members. "I think you are going to see more mergers as time goes on."

 

For Ford, Canada
is the 51st state

Jeremy Cato
Globe and Mail
December 14, 2011

Ford of Canada is this country's largest auto maker by sales, so you would think Canadians who want to buy the Ford Ranger compact pickup would rate highly with this Detroit-based car company.

After all, through the end of November, Ford of Canada had sold 15,375 Rangers. That's more than 1,000 a month, on average, every single month of this year.

There is plenty of demand for the Ranger in Canada, despite it being essentially a 20-year-old design. Here, the Ranger remains a certified hit. Yet Ford has officially said the Ranger in Canada and the United States is as dead as a doornail.

The Grim Reaper is coming for the Ranger in Canada even though Ford recently introduced a new Ranger for global markets. Canada apparently isn't considered part of the world – say, like Australia. Nope, it appears we're the 51st state. U.S. bosses, it seems, would rather sell a cheap version of the F-150 than an even more affordable Ranger. (The Ranger starts at $13,999 before discounts, versus the F-150 which starts at $19,999.)

Erich Merkle, Ford's top U.S. sales analyst, told WardsAuto: "Nobody has infinite resources, and we have to figure out how we can best position those resources to meet the needs of customers today and in the future. (The Ranger) has been pretty popular, but we think more of a baseline F-150 can also meet a good portion of those needs."

Corporate-speak, if ever I've heard it.

But Erich Merkle can't spin his way around the fact that the Ranger is a bargain and it's a sensible pickup, too. Canadian buyers want it because it lists for at least $6,000 less than an F-150. Moreover, while it's the size of a car and easy to park in any mall or hockey rink in this country, the Ranger has the functionality of a full-size rig on a slightly smaller scale).

Truth is, a Ranger is all the pickup most suburban buyers need to haul rubbish to the dump. It is also all the pickup needed by most ranchers, hobby farmers and tradespeople, too.

Yes, yes, yes, Ford says Ranger sales have slumped to 55,000 units or so, and that small pickups now account for just 2.0 per cent of the market, versus 6.0 per cent in the heyday of small pickups. But Ranger sales have tanked, I think, because the Ranger in showrooms today is pretty much the Ranger in showrooms in 1991. If Ford had spent a couple of buck to update the Ranger now and again, then buyers would be interested.

As WardsAuto notes, many dealers would like to see the Ranger continued but at a lower price point. "There is still good demand for a lower-priced, good-gas-mileage, small truck," said one dealer. Another doubted that Ranger customers will find the same price and fuel economy advantage in an F-150. Of course that dealer is absolutely correct.

Canada is the only country in the world where Ford is No. 1 in sales. That should give us a little clout with the Dearborn, Mich., decision-makers who are not just killing the Ranger in the U.S., but also Canada – at least as much clout as Australia, where the new Ranger will be sold.

Am I the only one lamenting the passing of the Ranger in Canada? At a time when the "green" mantra is being touted by car makers from Ford to Toyota, isn't there a place for a fuel efficient and thrifty Ranger in the U.S. and Canada? Personally, I think so.

 

CAW Contact
December 9, 2011
Volume 41, No. 44


 

Don't Pay Down Deficit During Recession, Lewenza Urges

CAW National President Ken Lewenza blasts the Harper Conservatives at CAW Council for trying to pay down the national deficit during an economic slow down.

In a wide ranging address to CAW Council, CAW National President Ken Lewenza urged the approximately 800 delegates, staff and guests to turn their attention to the nation's growing economic disparity and renew efforts toward bringing about real social and economic equality.

The union's work cannot be circumvented by companies trying to take advantage of working people or governments trying to pay down deficits on the backs of the poor, said Lewenza, opening up the meeting on December 2 in Toronto.

Not the Time to Pay Down the Deficit

He decried the federal Conservative government for trying to pay down the national deficit at a time of economic slow down. He said that current government deficits are the automatic result of the recession. "Now we can't balance the budget in a faltering economy without devastating families and communities."

Lewenza warned that the $4 billion the government plans to cut out of federal public spending will cost tens of thousands of jobs. "And you can't cut tens of thousands of jobs, and expect services to be the same - there is a direct correlation between jobs and services - you can't cut your way to a balanced budget."

"Our federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is now lecturing Canadians about their spending - but if we were to follow his advice, the economy would be in even worse shape." Lewenza said that the government needs to spend money on EI benefits for those who qualify and extend the system to include more workers who have lost their jobs.

"Too many workers are falling through the cracks - with layoffs, unemployment and few job prospects."

Lewenza called for a more concerted focus on economic and social issues by labour unions and the New Democratic Party, particularly in Ontario. He urged an end to singing off the same song book as the Conservative party and championing tax cuts.

Lewenza also voiced concerns about the agenda of the Stephen Harper government, who's first task as government was enacting back-to-work legislation for CUPW members, and later threatening to enact back to work legislation for CAW members at Air Canada and then workers represented by CUPE.

Lewenza said that the global Occupy movement collectively taught us a lesson. "We cannot ignore the social inequality that's happening in our nation. We have to fight for young people - for students, for young workers and those who are vulnerable to precarious work and unemployment."

Part of these efforts will be increasing union density across the country, bringing it up from the current 30 per cent, said Lewenza.

Collective Bargaining

Lewenza congratulated long term care workers at Extendicare, Revera and the group of 20 homes in Ontario who have recently obtained settlements. He also spoke about how the gaming industry has deviated from its original vision as a way to diversify the Ontario economy. Instead now, employers such as the Woodbine Entertainment Group are replacing workers with automated tellers in many locations.

Lewenza congratulated retail workers in the union for recent agreements at PharmaPlus and Metro stores in a number of locations across Ontario, representing approximately 5,000 members.

He also applauded workers at Nav Canada, represented by CAW Local 5454 and 1016 across the country for their recent collective agreements. Lewenza also warned that the union could be facing a serious fight at Caterpillar (formerly Electromotive) in London, where the extended collective agreement expires on December 31. The company has already constructed a barbed wire fence around the facility.

On a happier note, Lewenza congratulated the Halifax shipyard workers who recently were awarded a $25 billion contract from the federal government to build 21 naval vessels. The contract will guarantee approximately 30 years of work at the shipyard.

Lewenza said that the contract is an inspiring example of how public monies can be used to invest in Canadian jobs.

NDP's Peggy Nash Urges Delegates to Rebalance Politics

Peggy Nash encouraged CAW members to get involved in her campaign to become the next Federal NDP leader.

Federal NDP leadership candidate Peggy Nash reminded delegates of the importance of being actively involved in electoral politics as they seek to build a more equitable, just and inclusive society.

She blasted the Harper Conservatives for passing laws and establishing policy on behalf of the wealthy and the powerful.

"We've got to rebalance our Parliament and our society," Nash said, speaking at CAW Council on December 2.

While the Harper Conservatives continue to press ahead with their anti-worker agenda of cuts, instability and attacks on working people, there is much to remain hopeful about.

If elected NDP leader, Nash pledged to build a more positive, equal, and inclusive country.

"In 2015 I want us to work together to be the government of Canada and to take Canada in a different direction," Nash said.

The challenge is to join together the fair minded nature of the majority of Canadians with concrete government action that will be brought forward by the NDP under Nash's leadership, she said.

Nash cited the power of political decision making and the example of the importance of the massive government shipbuilding contract won by the Halifax Irving shipyard, which will mean thousands of jobs for local shipbuilders for years.

"We can do this - we can create good quality jobs," said Nash, a top negotiator and a long-time assistant to the CAW National President before being elected NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park in Toronto.

To find out more about Peggy, get involved in her campaign or join the NDP, please visit: http://www.peggynash.ca/

Federal Government Must Act in Wake of Attawapiskat Crisis

Delegates to CAW Council called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take immediate action to work with First Nations communities to solve problems such as inadequate housing, poor educational opportunities, a lack of health care and poverty.

In signed letters to Harper more than 400 delegates expressed dismay over the deplorable conditions in the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario and stressed that all Canadians are rightfully shocked:

"Whole families living in tents without access to heat or plumbing; children attending decrepit schools if they are able to attend school at all; even the absence of proper sewage treatment - no citizen of this country should ever have to live in such wretched conditions."

"The crisis in Attawapiskat has shone national and even international attention on the gross disparity between some First Nations communities and other parts of the country."

Leadership from the federal government could dramatically improve the circumstances of First Nations people, particularly First Nations youth, who are much less likely to graduate from high school, because of barriers to basic education, health, housing and nutrition.

"Real solutions can be found to these problems. It is incumbent upon your government to act now, not only to prevent further crises and devastation, but to give hope to a generation of First Nations youth whose experience has given them little reason for optimism."

Tax Fairness a Centre-Piece of Fight Against Income Inequality

Author Linda McQuaig calls for a reformed tax system that makes the rich pay a more fair share of taxes.

A more robust income tax system that makes the rich pay a fairer share of taxes is an important tool to help fight against income and social inequality, author and political-economic commentator Linda McQuaig told CAW Council delegates on December 2.

Contrary to what is said by right-wing politicians and neo-liberal economists, there is nothing 'natural' about the laws of the marketplace that create wide income disparity, McQuaig said.

"The laws of the marketplace are man-made and are crafted by those with power - the rich," McQuaig said. "But it doesn't have to be this way. The rich only represent the one per cent. We represent the 99."

McQuaig, who co-authored the book "The Trouble With Billionaires," credited the efforts of the Occupy movement for raising awareness about income inequality to a national level.

"Income inequality, for the past decades, has been all but invisible - almost taboo - until the Occupy movement began."

McQuaig stressed that no correlation exists between lower taxes and rising economic prosperity, which can be exemplified by Canada's economic performance during the post-war era (a period that saw tremendous economic growth) - a time when taxes paid by the richest citizens topped 80 per cent.

Today, income tax cuts have resulted in gross inequalities, including between CEOs and average workers. CEOs, on average, make 250 times the salary of the average worker in Canada.

Among a series of tax reform measures, McQuaig proposed the creation of two new tax brackets, for those who earn $500,000 (at 60 per cent) and those who earn $2.5 million (at 70 percent). This move alone would generate an additional $8 billion into government coffers.

Olivia Chow Urges Progress on White Ribbon Campaign

Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow spoke about her late husband Jack Layton who felt it was a necessity as a man to challenge other men to get involved in anti-violence and equality initiatives.

NDP MP Olivia Chow urged delegates to continue their efforts to end male violence against women by not only raising it on the shop floor and in their communities, but also by taking the fight into electoral politics.

"The quest must continue - we must continue it in the political sphere," Chow said during a ceremony honouring her late husband Jack Layton's key role in establishing and building the global White Ribbon Campaign.

Layton helped launch the campaign as a way to raise awareness and to change male attitudes after a male gunman fatally shot 14 young women at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal 23 years ago on December 6.

Chow recalled how Jack started the campaign in his son Mike's bedroom in their Toronto home and how it was eventually built into a world-wide awareness effort that now reaches into more than 60 countries world wide.

After the massacre there was widespread shock and anger and then mourning and concern, but Chow said Jack was determined to create a movement that resulted in action and concrete results.

A key concept was to use white ribbons as a visible symbol, which led to dialogue and awareness among other males and ultimately to taking responsibility. She said there was such a feeling of despair after the shootings and the White Ribbon Campaign helped provide a way to move ahead.

The White Ribbon Campaign tackled the issue from two key angles: by empowering women, and also by asking men to recognize their responsibilities in ending male violence against women.

She blasted the Harper government in Ottawa for rolling back so many social and human rights programs of which the Tories' relentless efforts to end the long-gun registry is of particular concern.

Chow stressed the need for a national child care program, affordable housing programs, quality public education, the entrenchment of pay equity and many other progressive programs.

She thanked the CAW for its long-standing commitment to the White Ribbon Campaign and for taking concrete steps and practical approaches to ending male violence against women over many years.

CAW President Ken Lewenza gave an emotional thanks to Chow and to Mike Layton, Jack's son and a Toronto City councilor, who also spoke to delegates.

"This is such a fantastic and fitting tribute to Jack's legacy," Mike Layton said, who also urged continuing efforts to end male violence against women and children.

Unions and Occupy Movement Must Foster Community Links

Occupy Toronto activist Lana Goldberg said the Occupy movement wants to build links with labour and with community groups to further the struggle for a fair and equitable society.

"We want to work together and to broaden our base," Goldberg told delegates. She stressed that although many Occupy camps are now dissembled the Occupy movement is still going strong and is alive and well.

She said Occupy was built on principles of direct democracy, inclusiveness, and equality that allowed many people to become involved in creating a more equitable society for the first time.

CAW Council delegates unanimously endorsed a recommendation to continue working with Occupy groups in their respective communities and to defend the interests of the 99 per cent.

CAW Council President Tim Carrie said the Occupy movement's battles against inequality and injustice are also the union's battles.

"The Occupy movement is not a protest. It's a process. It's not going to die, and we're going to be a part of it," Carrie told delegates.

CAW Local 4003 (Via Rail Toronto) Chairperson Andrew Stephen encouraged delegates to build on the support that Occupy has so far received and to continue the conversation that's started.

"We need to build the collective strength of the 99 per cent."

Council Delegates Commit to Push Pay Equity in Bargaining

Delegates to CAW Council unanimously endorsed a recommendation calling on staff representatives, local union leaders and bargaining committee members to make pay equity a key requirement in collective agreements across the country.

The recommendation was made by CAW President Ken Lewenza in his opening address to Council on December 2.

CAW Local 240 President Theresa Farao spoke in favour of the recommendation and shared a personal story of how winning pay equity in her workplace, CAA, has helped equalize the standards between men and women.

"Success could take years, but it's worth the fight," Farao said. Local 240 has also had successful pay equity campaigns at The Windsor Star, Beach Grove retirement home and is currently working on campaigns at Greenshield and The Bay.

"There's systemic discrimination built into our workplaces and our wages, where men are paid more than women for jobs of equal value," Farao told delegates.

Farao said that trade unionists have a responsibility to look at every single workplace to ensure all employers recognize pay equity as a priority.

We Make It Move

A new CAW policy document called We Make It Move: A Vision for Sustainable ransportation was unanimously endorsed by CAW Council.

Delegate after delegate from transportation sector workplaces across the union went to the microphones to discuss the importance of the new vision outlined in the document, which was first presented and endorsed at the CAW Transportation Conference in September.

Key issues such as climate change, the future of oil and the impact of globalization are rapidly changing how we move and the machinery that moves us, the document states.

"We need a made-in-Canada transportation system that is the most efficient, accessible, green and safe in the world," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "To achieve this goal we must face the issues head on, put forth a vision for the future, propose real solutions, and work to build momentum across the union and within broader movements to win the change we need."

To read the new CAW transportation document go to: http://www.caw.ca/en/10639.htm.

CAW Urges Municipal Councils to Steer Clear of CETA

CAW delegates unanimously endorsed a recommendation urging city and town councils across Canada to demand a "clear, permanent exemption" from a proposed E.U.-Canada free trade accord.

If ratified, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will be the first international trade deal to bind Canadian sub-national governments (including provinces and municipalities) to trade rules, particularly with respect to government procurement, public services and investment.

The CETA threatens to restrict the ability of local governments and government agencies to use buy-local policies to maximize the economic value of public purchases. It also threatens to reduce the ability of governments to use public spending as a tool for environmental protection, support for local farmers and small businesses.

CAW Local 444 First Vice-President Dino Chiodo called CETA a "destructive trade deal" and one that leaves local governments vulnerable to cut-throat global competition.

"Private European firms are gunning for our public services, like health care, education and postal services," Chiodo said. "With such little attention paid to such an important trade deal our job is to make sure the public understands what's at stake here."

With trade talks expected to wrap up as early as 2012, CAW Atlantic Region Director Les Holloway urged Council delegates to "wake up on this issue" before it's too late.

"Free trade deals are designed to shift power from governments, and citizens, to private corporations," Holloway said. "We've already seen it with NAFTA, and we're seeing it again with CETA."

In a study released in 2010, CAW Economist Jim Stanford pegged Canadian job losses in the manufacturing sector at up to 150,000, as a result of the CETA.

A sample resolution was circulated to Council delegates that calls on municipalities to demand a clear, permanent exemption from the CETA and demands the provincial or territorial government fully disclose its initial procurement, services and investment offers to the E.U.

To see the resolution please visit: http://www.caw.ca/assets/images/Canada-EU-Municipal-Resolution.pdf

Visit http://www.caw.ca/en/8883.htm for more information.

Support for Women's Shelters and Food Banks

CAW President Ken Lewenza outlined the terrible toll poverty takes on communities across the country with one in 10 Canadians living in poverty, according to the latest Campaign 2000 report.

Campaign 2000 recently stated that part of the reason for high poverty levels is the dramatic decline in good paying jobs which are being replaced increasingly by poor quality, insecure and low paid work.

"You should recognize that when you lose good paying jobs and bring in part-time, precarious low paid jobs, you're increasing the level of poverty," Lewenza said. Lewenza thanked delegates and CAW local unions for supporting social justice causes throughout their communities including women's shelters and food banks.

Delegates unanimously endorsed the annual $100,000 donation shared by the CAW Council and the Social Justice Fund that provides support for women's shelters across Canada.

In addition, they also endorsed the $135,000 donation, shared by CAW Council and the SJF, to provide badly needed support for 46 food banks across Canada.

A recent study of food banks in Canada shows that as of October 2011, 850,000 Canadians now rely on food banks, which is the second highest month on record.

CAW Throws Support Behind Injured Workers Campaign

CAW Council delegates unanimously endorsed a resolution calling on the union to re-commit itself to
the fight for injured workers rights and to champion a call for long-overdue reforms to the workers' compensation system in Ontario.

CAW Locals 112 and 707 introduced separate (although similar) resolutions to the CAW Council on December 3. The resolutions called on the union to build support around four key demands for reforming workers' compensation, including:

  • A guarantee of injured worker job security, by employers, and accommodation measures that ensure a level of dignity or full compensation;
  • Full respect given to the advice of workers' medical practitioners, by the Workers' Safety and Insurance Board, with respect to worker recuperation and rehabilitation;
  • A guarantee of lifetime pension benefits for lifetime injuries;
  • A full "cost of living" adjustment for all workers' compensation benefits.

The resolutions rebuke the report, and recommendations, issued by business consulting firm KPMG on restructuring Ontario's workers' compensation system. The report, commissioned by the WSIB, undermines the "fundamental principles of workers' compensation", as stated in the resolutions.

CAW Local 112 Financial Secretary and Chair of the CAW Council Workers' Compensation Committee Scott McIlmoyle said that these recommendations signal an all-out-attack on Ontario's injured workers.

"At a time when Ontario's injured workers need greater support, KPMG is proposing reforms that would effectively end the workers' compensation system as we know it," McIlmoyle said.

Council delegates resolved to meet with senior representatives at all regional WSIB offices in Ontario to raise the union's concerns, meet with MPPs across the province and do workplace education on the importance of a stronger workers' compensation system that prioritizes the needs of injured workers.

CAW Commemorates Layton with Dedication at YWCA Centre


The CAW has raised $100,000 to name a room in honour of former federal NDP leader and White Ribbon Campaign founder Jack Layton at a newly-opened YWCA Elm Centre housing complex and centre for women.

Located downtown Toronto, the Elm Centre will provide 300 single family apartments and will house the YWCA Toronto's administrative offices. The environmentally-friendly community hub will provide housing to 50-women led first nations families, 150 low income units and 100 units for women living with mental health issues.

The tenant lounge will be dedicated to Jack Layton for his commitment to ending violence against women, challenging other men to speak out against violence and abuse and promoting women's social and economic equality on all fronts.

YWCA Toronto CEO Heather McGregor voiced her appreciation on behalf of the organization for CAW's donation in an address to CAW Council.

"The CAW has a long history of fighting sexism and working to improve women's safety and equality. We are proud to receive this wonderful gift in Jack's name. His work and vision continues to inspire people across Canada to work for equality and social justice," said McGregor.

"The Elm Centre will continue to build on Jack's legacy and the principals of promoting gender equality which are at the cornerstone of the White Ribbon Campaign," said CAW Women's Department Director Julie White.

"Jack felt men have both a role and responsibility in working to end violence against women and challenged men to step up and speak out to end violence against women by promoting gender equality. The Elm Centre is an excellent example of a community initiative that will create the economic conditions for women to live a life free of violence."

Half of the money raised came from the CAW Social Justice Fund, and the remaining funds were donated by CAW local unions and sector councils. Locals and sector councils will be formally recognized in CONTACT at a later date.

For more information on the YWCA Elm Centre, please visit: http://www.ywcatoronto.org/page.asp?pid=76

Bud Jimmerfield Award Goes to Longtime CAW Local 636 Activist

Bud Jimmerfield Award recipient Garry Gray tells delegates that he feels good about the work done in his facility and others across the country and it believes it likely has saved lives. Retired CAW President Bob White looks on.

CAW health and safety activist Garry Gray has seen the conditions of work change dramatically in his more than 40 years on the job.

Gray is the 2011 Bud Jimmerfield Award recipient and a member of CAW Local 636 at SAF/Holland Canada in Woodstock, Ontario.

Gray started at SAF/Holland Canada in 1966 as a machinist and by 1967 was elected to the bargaining committee. When Gray started at the facility, he told delegates that the welding shop was so full of dark smoke that it wasn't even possible to see 10 feet ahead. "Now you can see from one end of the plant to the other. I swore that one day, there wouldn't be anymore smog."

Gray has been involved in 13 sets of contract negotiations over the past 40 years and elected to the joint health and safety committee, where he served as the co-chair for 24 years.

In presenting Gray with the award on December 3, Health, Safety and Environment Director Sari Sairanen told delegates that Garry has strived to ensure everyone goes home whole at the end of their work day.

"All his working life Garry has taken great pride and pleasure in teaching H&S and representing workers at all levels of WSIB/CPP and EI appeals throughout Ontario," said Sairanen. She said that according to his co-workers, Gray has only ever lost one appeal.

Over his years as a health and safety activist, Garry has trained thousands of union and non-union workers not only in Ontario but also in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. He recounted fond memories of training health and safety activists in the fishery of Newfoundland, shortly before FFAW members joined the CAW.

Bud Jimmerfield, President of CAW Local 89, passed away nearly 13 years ago from cancer of the esophagus caused by exposure to metalworking fluids.

At the CAW Council in December 1997, Bud challenged Council delegates to go back to their workplaces and locals to prevent occupational and environmental cancers from occurring. The award is presented each year in his honour.

CAW Donates to Goderich Relief Efforts

(L-R) CAW President Ken Lewenza, Local 2458 Vice President Darlene Prouse, Local 2458 member Cheryl McClure, CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy, Goderich Mayor Delbert (Deb) Shewfelt and CAW Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy.

The CAW has donated $35,000 to the Town of Goderich, Ontario in support of relief and rebuilding efforts in the wake of a devastating tornado that ripped through the town on August 21.

CAW President Ken Lewenza made the cheque presentation to Goderich Mayor Deb Shewfelt at CAW Council on December 3, calling it a "down payment" from the union. The Town has so far raised $3 million in aid money, and is aiming for a total of $10 million.

"We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the community of Goderich until they reach their goal," Lewenza said.

In a speech to council delegates, CAW Local 2458 member and unit chairperson at Seaforth Manor long term care facility Cheryl McClure, recounted the details of a horrific tornado-related accident that resulted in her husband, Jim Johnston, suffering serious injuries and requiring emergency medical care. Jim was struck by a fish and chips shack that was blown over because of high winds.

"We are thankful for the tremendous support of emergency responders and hospital workers in Goderich and London," McClure said.

Mayor Shewfelt, a former trade union member, said McClure's story is one of thousands being told by citizens, including many other CAW members living in Goderich. Shewfelt spoke to delegates about the challenges the Town now faces and remained hopeful that the community will surface stronger, as a result.

"In the aftermath of the storm I told a lot of the people, 'you are not victims - you are survivors," Shewfelt said.

The CAW will set up a webpage, on www.caw.ca/en, for the public to make donations to support the Goderich relief efforts in the coming days.

Canada Should Lead on Climate Talks or "Get Out of the Way"

In a joint statement, progressive non-governmental organizations and trade unions are urging the Harper government to lead on a new ambitious, equitable and binding international climate agreement or "at least get out of the way."

The joint statement, signed by the CAW and other groups, including the Council of Canadians, Canadian Union of Public Employees and Greenpeace, was released on November 28, which marked the first day of the 17th annual international climate negotiations taking place under the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference involves over 190 nations and runs until December 9.

"There is no question that the planet is facing a serious climate change crisis that requires leadership from all national governments including our own," reads the statement.

The statement highlights examples of Canada's dismal track record on climate change action under the Harper government, including:

  • being the only country to weaken its national emissions reduction target after signing the Copenhagen Accord in 2009;
  • being the only country to have ratified and then renounced its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol;
  • lobbying against important climate policies in the European Union that penalize tar sands oil exports.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the Harper government's total failure to address climate change (both at home and globally), and fully to recognize its potentially damaging consequences, is indicative of a government that is fundamentally callous, uncaring and short-sighted.

To read the full statement visit: http://www.caw.ca/assets/images/Durban_statement.pdf

Canada Must Change Approach to Job Creation, CAW says

The absence of a national good jobs strategy for Canada is cause for concern and should prompt the federal government to change its approach to job creation as the economy continues to stagnate, CAW National President Ken Lewenza says.

With crises mounting in Europe, the U.S. economy sputtering and the corporate sector electing to stockpile profits instead of investing in the real economy, Lewenza stressed the need for strong federal job creation policies and a national good jobs summit.

Lewenza's comments are in response to the second consecutive dismal monthly labour market report issued by Statistics Canada which show the country shed another 19,000 net jobs in the month of November, extending the number of overall job losses to 73,000 in the past two months.

"The global economy is on pins and needles and workers in Canada are feeling the pressure," Lewenza said. "Why isn't the Harper government taking meaningful and pro-active steps to pre-empt a possible economic fall-out?"

The national Labour Force Survey reported further losses in the manufacturing sector (more than half a million jobs in the past years), leaving one of Canada's most strategic and high value sectors a shell of itself, Lewenza said.

Today, fewer than 1 in 10 workers are employed in the manufacturing sector, the lowest ever recorded. The survey also reported a further tanking of job prospects for young workers, with a drop of 18,000.

Lewenza urged the federal government to re-consider cost-cutting (and job-slashing) usterity and short-term debt-fighting measures.

He also called for the Harper government to hold the line on important public sector jobs, direct new public investment towards local infrastructure projects (with a special emphasis on local-content requirements to boost Canada's failing manufacturing sector) and immediately hold a national good jobs summit.

We Did It!

CAW Connected has reached and surpassed the goal of reaching 5,000 members by its second birthday - December 4, 2011. Way to go!

Today, CAW Connected has 6,053 members right across the country and more members are signing up every day.

Launched December 4, 2009, CAW Connected is a way to find out about national and regional campaigns, events and other ways to get active and get involved in the union and progressive causes.

We're now working towards reaching 10,000 by this time next year, so make sure to sign up so you don't miss a thing!

CAW Connected cards are available through the CAW Communications Department or members can also sign up online at: http://connected.caw.ca/

White Ribbon Campaign Returns to Its Roots

CAW members and volunteers spent much of the day on December 5 gaining support for the White Ribbon Campaign at Toronto's Union Station, the city's busiest rail terminal. The campaign was launched in the same location 20 years ago and has since spread to 65 countries. The initiative was organized by Denise Hampden, CAW Local 4003.
For more information please visit
http://www.whiteribbon.ca/

Staff Appointment

CAW National President Ken Lewenza has appointed Serge Dupont, President, CAW Local 510 as staff representative, replacing Andre Gendron, working out of our Montreal office, effective Sunday, February 5, 2012.

 

Japan's Canadian auto
units want Ottawa to
strike free-trade deal

Greg Keenan
Globe and Mail
December 8, 2011

The Canadian units of the Japanese auto makers are spearheading an effort to persuade Ottawa to begin negotiations with Japan on a bilateral free-trade agreement amid a new, more liberal attitude the Asian nation is taking toward such deals.

The key issue for Japanese auto makers in Canada is eliminating the 6.1-per-cent duty they pay on vehicles imported into Canada from outside North America, a change that would allow them to remain competitive with South Korean and European auto makers if the tariff is removed in Canadian trade deals with those two regions.

The effort by the auto makers comes as Canada and Japan look for free-trade partners, including agreements Canada is negotiating with South Korea and the European Union.

Japan is pursuing a potential three-way pact with China and South Korea and separate agreements with Australia and a group of southeast Asian countries.

In addition, both Canada and Japan have agreed to enter talks on the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) among Pacific Rim nations.

"What I'm hearing is a lot of warm support on this side of the ocean," Toyota Canada Inc. managing director Stephen Beatty said in an interview in Tokyo.

Mr. Beatty made his comments a few weeks after several high-ranking representatives of the Canadian units of Japanese auto makers – including Toyota Canada president Yoichi Tomihara and Nissan Canada Inc. president Allen Childs – lobbied members of Parliament to support a deal.

The meetings with MPs came in the same month that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a report urging the federal government to seize the opportunity offered by Japan's new embrace of bilateral free trade agreements.

"Until quite recently, Japan, unlike many of its Asian and G8 competitors, had avoided trade liberalization done with other advanced economies on a bilateral basis," the chamber said. "That stance has changed under the leadership of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, as the Japanese government has signalled it would ambitiously revisit its traditional trade policy and market-access issues so as to negotiate and conclude high-quality free-trade agreements with both advanced and large developing partner economies."

That change in policy is driven by a structural issue within Japanese society, Fujio Mitarai, chairman and chief executive officer of camera and copier giant Canon Inc., told The Globe and Mail.

"I think above all the Japanese people now have a clear understanding and recognition that we are into an era of low fertility with an aging society as a whole," Mr. Mitarai said in an interview at Canon's head office in Tokyo. "That means that in order for us to continue to grow we need to expand the free-trade areas as much as possible."

As part of a deal, Canada would likely look to expand access to the Japanese market for agricultural and forest products as well as services. Japan is the world's largest net importer of agricultural and seafood products with imports of about $67.9-billion, including about $3.2-billion from Canada.

Its home renovation market is estimated at $50-billion, which represents an opportunity for Canadian forest products companies to boost their business in the country. In total, Japan was Canada's fifth-largest merchandise trade partner in 2010. Exports to Japan totalled $9.2-billion, while Japan shipped goods worth $13.4-billion to Canada.

For the Japan-based car companies in Canada, the main issue is the 6.1-per-cent tariff that Canada levies on vehicles imported from outside North America.

If Canada signs South Korean and EU deals that eliminate that tariff for auto makers from those regions, Japanese auto makers bringing vehicles into Canada from outside North America will be at a disadvantage, even though Honda Motor Co. Ltd., and Toyota Motor Corp. have large assembly plants in Ontario that combined employ about 10,000 people.

Eliminating the tariff on subcompacts and other entry-level vehicles such as the Hyundai Accent imported from South Korea would have an impact on sales in that segment, where profit margins are razor thin and products are priced only a few hundred dollars apart.

"In the entry-level car market you're separated by dollars in monthly payments," said Toyota Canada's Mr. Beatty.

The subcompact segment has become more competitive in recent years with the addition of new offerings by Mazda Canada Inc., and the North American-built Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500 from Chrysler.

The tariff issue also plays out to a lesser extent in the luxury segment where prices and margins are higher, so a 6.1-per-cent change is less noticeable. Nonetheless, eliminating the duty on European-built vehicles would give Audi Canada, BMW Canada Inc. and Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. an advantage over Toyota's Lexus models imported from Japan as well as Acuras brought into North America by Honda Canada and Infiniti brand vehicles sold by Nissan Canada.

 

Contact
Vol 41, No. 42
Nov 25, 2011


 

CAW Wind Turbine a Step Towards Environmental Sustainability

The CAW is set to begin construction of a new wind turbine on its property at the union's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario. Construction was given a green light after final approvals were provided by local and provincial government agencies.

"This project is an exciting educational opportunity to understand renewable energy resources that will help reduce our carbon footprint, while meeting our energy needs," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "It's an also an important chance to support local procurement policies that will ensure good jobs in an emerging green economy."

CAW representatives met on November 15 with Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau and John Kyles, President of the Port Elgin & Saugeen Township Beachers' Organization to discuss the previous Ontario Municipal Board ruling which stated that, the "single use, 800 kilowatt 100 metre turbine wouldn't have a significant impact on the surrounding residents or area." Under the CAW's Ontario Feed-In-Tarrif program contract the turbine will operate at 500kw capacity.

At a November meeting of the national executive board of the union, the CAW reaffirmed the importance of the wind turbine project.

"This project began eight years ago as an initiative by our environmental activists within the union," said Lewenza. "It represents our commitment to environmental sustainability and a desire to move to clean energy sources."

The CAW recognizes that some in the community have expressed concern with the project, concerns that the union is working to allay through information sharing and opening up a community dialogue on the wind turbine's operation. The union has set up a webpage that includes downloadable materials and other helpful resources, and can be found at: http://www.caw.ca/en/10744.htm.

Any questions on the wind turbine can be sent directly to cleanwindenergy@caw.ca

CAW Local 195 Celebrates Their 75th Anniversary

CAW Local 195 was chartered in 1936, making it the oldest CAW local in Canada. The local represents 4000 members in multiple units.
Photo by: Gord Gray Local 444

 

 

New Agreement for CAW Local 1016 Members at Nav Canada

CAW Local 1016 members who work at Nav Canada providing training and operational support for air traffic control have ratified a new two-year agreement.

The agreement includes wage increases of three per cent in each year. In addition the new agreement also provides new job security language and benefit improvements.

"To conclude a collective agreement without any government intervention in the federal sector is an incredible accomplishment," said CAW National Representative Joel Fournier. "The bargaining committee put a lot effort into concluding this agreement and it has paid off for the membership," he said.

The new contract runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013 and covers about 280 CAW members who work at seven major airports across Canada, as well as Nav Canada's national headquarters in Ottawa.

CAW Returns to OFL Convention

The biennial Ontario Federation of Labour Convention attracted the highest number of delegates in its history for the November 21-25 event.

More than 1,400 union members took part in the week-long convention held in downtown Toronto. On November 22, OFL President Sid Ryan was acclaimed to head up the organization and will now be joined by Nancy Hutchison (United Steelworkers) as Secretary-Treasurer and Irwin Nanda (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) as Executive Vice President, who were acclaimed and elected respectively.

Nancy Hutchinson, Syd Ryan and Irwin Nanda appear together after the election results were announced, November 22.
Photo: OFL Communications

"We are exhilarated and determined to wrest the fundamental changes needed for the 99%. It's a new beginning," said Ryan, following the announcement of the election results.

The three ran together under the banner of Team Unity, pledging to provide progressive leadership and work to bring the labour movement together to fight off right wing governmental agendas and growing inequality.

Hutchinson is renowned as a health and safety activist and a trailblazer. She was the first woman ever to be employed at the Campbell Red Lake Gold Mill in 1977. Nanda has spent 12 years as a full-time officer of CUPW.

This year's event also marks the first time the CAW has been seated at the OFL convention for more than 10 years.

The convention also heard from Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwarth, former Ontario NDP leader and UN envoy on HIV/AIDS Stephen Lewis, AFL-CIO's Terry Melvin, Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation Chief Donny Morris, Toronto and York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright. NDP MP Olivia Chow took part in a tribute to her late husband Jack Layton.

The convention adjourned early twice to support the Occupy Toronto efforts.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ofl.ca/

Financial Appeal for Locked Out Cummins Workers

CAW President Ken Lewenza has issued a financial appeal on behalf of 30 Cummins workers who are members of CAW Local 1044 in Ste. Foy, Quebec and who have been locked out for more than a month.

Lewenza is asking CAW local unions to provide as much financial and picket line support as possible for these workers, who are fighting back against concessions, including the elimination of the cost of living allowance and a wage freeze.

Cheques should be made payable to CAW/TCA Local 1044 and sent to:

Reynald Lachance,
Financial Secretary,
CAW/TCA Local 1044,
5000 boul. Des Gradins #110
Quebec City, QC, G2J 1N3

Skilled Trades Council

CAW Skilled Trades Executive (L to R): Ray Hamel, Dan Lawson, Phillip Fryer, Michel Gagnon, Dave Cassidy, Garry Vandenbossche, Joe Elworthy.

The CAW Skilled Trades Council Executive was brought back into office by acclamation during a meeting of the Skilled Trades Council in Vancouver, November 11-13. The meeting attracted approximately 180 skilled trades workplace representatives.

The executive is as follows:
President, Dave Cassidy, Local 444; Vice President, Phillip Fryer, Local 112; Financial Secretary , Joe Elworthy, Local 2200; Recording Secretary, Ray Hamel, Local 88; Trustees, Chris Taylor, Local 200; Garry Vandenbossche, Local 101; Dan Lawson, Local 222; Quebec Member/ Board Member at Large, Michel Gagnon, Local 510; Sergeant-at-arms, Ashok Venkatarangam, Local 100.

The CAW represents approximately 24,000 skilled trades workers across the country. The next meeting of the Skilled Trades Council will take place during the Skilled Trades Collective Bargaining Conference February 22-24, 2012 in Toronto.

For more information, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/services-departments-skilled-trades.htm

CAW Welcomes New Members

  • Oshawa Sequenced Parts Delivery, Whitby, ON, 85 members.
  • UTIL Canada Ltd., Concord ON, 214 members

 

CAW CONTACT
Volume 41, No. 41   
November 18, 2011

 

CAW Ratifies New Agreement at Northstar, Strike Over

CAW Local 112 members at Northstar Aerospace have ratified a new three-year collective agreement by a margin of 75 percent, marking the end of a 30-day strike at the company's Milton, Ontario facility.

CAW Local 112 President Roland Kiehne said the new deal is a victory for the 135 members employed at the manufacturing facility. The union successfully maintained the workers' cost-of-living allowance (COLA) and bargained new job security language, two main sticking points during the month-long dispute.

"Right from the onset of contract talks our members resolved to protect their COLA and win new job security, in the face of aggressive company concession demands," Kiehne said. "Today, we can proudly say that our members wishes have been signed, sealed and delivered."

In addition to retaining quarterly cost-of-living adjustments the union bargained groundbreaking language that commits Northstar to maintain a "stable workforce" at the Milton facility, that otherwise might be impacted by the subcontracting or transferring out of work.

CAW Aerospace Director Dawn Cartwright said that commitment ensures a stable flow of product into the facility for the duration of Northstar's lucrative contract with Boeing to produce parts for the Apache Block-3 helicopter.

"This job security provision is unlike any we've negotiated before at Northstar," Cartwright said. "It offers a sense of stability and certainty for these members in an otherwise unstable economy."

The recent strike was the longest in the facility's 18-year history, but the end result justified the means, according to CAW Northstar Plant Chairperson Graham Davies.

"Despite the huge financial and emotional toll this strike took on our members and their families, we can proudly say we never wavered on our fundamental demands," Davies said.

"Our members have seen, first hand, that fighting back does make a difference. The feeling of solidarity and pride in our union that was built during this challenging time is electric, and has instilled in us so much hope and optimism for a brighter future."

Northstar Aerospace produces helicopter gears and transmissions as well as other fabricated parts. The new contract expires on Sept 30, 2014.

Overwhelming Support for New Agreement at Brinks in BC

The Brinks Bargaining Committee in B.C., from L to R: Keith Broad, Rick Toombs, Keith Mogensen, Gord McGrath (President, CAW Local 114), Diamen Golob, Gavin McGarrigle (National Representative), Peter Wendel, John Williamson, Maurice Mills and Gary Mihic


CAW Local 114 members who work for Brinks Canada in British Columbia have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year collective agreement with strong wage and benefit improvements.

The BC Brinks workers ratified the contract by 95 per cent. CAW Local 114 represents approximately 300 Brinks workers in BC and this is their first agreement with the CAW.

The wage increases range from 4.5% to over 9% in Year 1, 3.33% to over 6% in Year 2 and 3.23% to over 5.5% in Year 3.

A new long term disability plan was negotiated as well as improved vision care, and paramedical services. The union also negotiated much stronger language in many areas of the collective agreement.

"This agreement is an important step forward that was approved by an overwhelming show of support by the Brinks BC membership," said CAW National Representative Gavin McGarrigle. "This foundation provides a strong base for the membership and leadership at Brinks to build on in the future."

Oakville District Labour Council Activist Awards dinner

Oakville District Labour Council celebrated the work of local labour activists at an annual awards ceremony, held November 10.

Award recipients from L to R: Pat Leaver, CAW Local 707; Jenny Ahn, CAW Director of Membership Mobilization & Political Action; Dave Millar, Labour Council President/ CAW Local 707 Recording Secretary; and award recipient Angus MacDonald, CAW Local 1256 President.
(Photo by Federico Carvajal)


Canada Should Prioritize Full Employment over Low Inflation, CAW says

The CAW is calling on the federal government to drop its rigid program of inflation targeting and instead mandate the Bank of Canada to adopt a more flexible system that emphasizes full employment, above all other goals.

CAW Economist Jim Stanford delivered the union's message in a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on November 15 in Ottawa. Stanford was among a group of private sector economists and academics to address the committee.

Stanford indicated that, in practice, the inflation-targeting system employed by the Bank of Canada since the mid-1990s (steering inflation towards a two per cent target) has imposed several unexpected costs on Canada's economy. These unexpected costs include inhibiting price adjustments, increasing the real burden of debts, reducing real tax revenues for governments and growing income inequality.

"Many global economists are now concluding that a two percent inflation target is too low, and has inadvertently contributed to the current crisis of the world economy," Stanford said. "Our national monetary policy is such that maintaining two percent inflation is an end-goal in itself, and overlooks the primary importance of promoting full employment."

Stanford said the federal government and Bank of Canada should have considered the economic issues and evidence more carefully before rushing to extend the existing two per cent target for another five years (a move made on November 8).

"What's most concerning about this move is that it was made before the House of Commons Finance Committee even held one hearing on the matter," Stanford said.

"Instead of targeting inflation in its own right, and then assuming the real economy will take care of itself, we would do better to actively enlist the power of monetary policy in our effort to maximize real output, which is in fact the true economic goal," Stanford said.

The full text of Stanford's presentation is available online: http://www.caw.ca/en/10730.htm

Settlement Resists Concession Demands at Continental AG

CAW Local 35 members who work at Continental AG, an automotive research and development company, in Chatham, Ontario have voted 83 per cent in favour of a new three-year collective agreement.

The agreement includes annual pay increases that total more than nine per cent over the three years, improved retirement incentives, and a signing bonus.

A key issue in bargaining was the right of new hires to enter into the defined benefit pension plan and the bargaining committee stood firm on this issue.

"We fought hard to preserve the rights of new hires and to prevent the creation of two tiers of workers in this workplace. Thanks to the solidarity of the membership and a strong bargaining committee we achieved those important goals," said Richard Laverty, CAW national representative.

"This small group of workers stood together and pushed back numerous concession demands from this profitable and huge multi-national corporation. The bargaining committee rejected the company's demands despite enormous pressure from the corporation," said Laverty.

The CAW represents approximately 35 workers at Continental AG.

CAW Welcomes New Members

  • Spencer ARL, Niagara Falls, ON - 111 members
  • First Student Canada, Martintown, ON 4 members

 

CAW Contact
Vol 41 No. 40
Nov 11, 2011

 

Job Market Instability Signals Sputtering Economy, CAW says

A stunning decline in employment in October (72,000 full time job losses) negates the significant job gains recorded in September and should send a clear signal to governments that without better job market supports, Canada's economy will continue to underperform, said CAW President Ken Lewenza, responding to the recent Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey of national unemployment figures.

"Focusing a national strategy that both aims to create jobs, including through public investments, and improve the quality of existing jobs is something that all governments in Canada can do, right now, to put our economy on a more secure footing," Lewenza said.

"Canadian politicians must stop using the economic problems of other nations to justify inaction here at home," Lewenza said. He reissued a call for the Harper government to organize a national good jobs summit, involving representatives of labour, business and government.

"Certainly, Canada is not sheltered from international economic storms, but that doesn't mean we should sit back and do nothing to avoid another economic crisis in the meantime. Stronger job market performance is a good place to start," Lewenza said, noting that Canada's labour market is in a much more precarious position now than it was prior to the 2008 recession.

Lewenza expressed particular concern around the loss of manufacturing jobs - the sector lost 48,000 jobs in October alone, adding to the 24,000 jobs lost in September.

The goods-producing industries are the foundation of the Canadian economy, said Lewenza. "When we see such huge job losses in these areas, it's a clear sign of a faltering economy and worse yet to come," said Lewenza.

"It's time to re-envision the economy and what kinds of employment we want to be creating for the future."

GM Health Care Trust Finalized

The CAW welcomes the finalization of a new and independent trust fund that will cover the costs of supplementary health care benefits for retirees from General Motors Canada.

The fund, called the Auto Sector Retiree Health Care Trust (asrTrust), was negotiated as part of the government-supported restructuring of General Motors in the spring of 2009.

Following two years of legal implementation and consultation with GM retirees, the trust has now been approved by the Ontario Court of Justice and will take effect. This system has already been in place providing supplementary health care benefits for retired workers at Chrysler Canada since the beginning of this year. The terms of the GM program took longer to implement due to more complex legal and economic issues, and the much larger number of retirees at the company.

Supplementary health benefits (including prescription drug coverage, dental and vision care, etc.) will now be provided to the estimated 32,000 Canadian retirees of GM by the independent trust fund, instead of by the company. GM Canada will pay a total of over $2.5 billion into the fund over the next seven years, beginning with an initial contribution of $1 billion (adjusted for interest, the costs of benefits in 2010 and 2011, and some administrative costs).

The funds contributed by GM, plus investment income earned on those assets, will be used to fund retiree health benefits (including benefits for existing workers at GM, after they retire). The independent trust therefore has assets from which to pay future benefits, so that security of benefits is no longer dependent exclusively on the financial health of General Motors Canada.

"This represents the final step in the restructuring of GM Canada, and now we can move forward with focusing on ensuring GM's future success and presence in Canada," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

"While the HCT system is not perfect, it provides our retirees with a level of security for future benefits that is far preferable to the previous system," Lewenza added. "Without the HCT, if a company goes bankrupt, retiree health benefits are lost completely.
Now we have money in the bank to ensure at least partial payment of benefits, no matter what."

Lewenza also complimented the work of the independent retirees' steering committee, and their independent legal and financial advisors, for their work over the last two years to strengthen the funding base for the GM HCT. The independent retirees' committee was able to negotiate additional funding commitments by GM, equal to $260 million, above and beyond the funding initially committed by the company in 2009.

The HCT will be managed by an independent board of trustees that includes a number of well known and highly respected experts in the fields of health care policy and investments.

CAW Inks New Deal with Lakeside Steel

CAW Local 523 members working at the Lakeside Steel facility in Welland, Ontario voted 78 per cent in favour of a new three-year collective agreement on November 1.

The new agreement includes hourly wage increases of 1.95 per cent and 2.25 per cent in years two and three, respectively. Workers will receive a cost of living adjustment in year one, estimated at 98 cents/hour.

The agreement also contains dental and vision care benefit improvements, new job training opportunities and increases to monthly long-term disability (LTD) payments, among other gains.

"When you look at the collective agreement, there's lots to be happy about," CAW Local 523 President Rick Alakas told the Niagara Falls Review. "There isn't a portion of the collective agreement monetarily where we didn't get something."

CAW National Staff Representative Doug Orr called the deal a major breakthrough for Lakeside Steel workers, following years of economic uncertainty including bankruptcy protection in 2005 (under former owner Stelco) and ownership changes. New investment in recent years has breathed new life into the facility, securing jobs.

"Our bargaining committee resolved to negotiate a good collective agreement for the members, and they did a tremendous job," Orr said.

New LUMA Committee Elected

Delegates to the recent CAW Local Union Media Association (LUMA) Conference have selected a new committee to provide help and guidance regarding the associations' activities over the next two years.

Here are the members of the new LUMA advisory committee:

Kim Kent, CAW Local 4451
Joe Sarnovsky, CAW Local 222
Bill Turner, CAW Local 1285
Jim Sadlemyer, CAW Local 114
Nick D'Alicandro, CAW Local 112
Peter Scott, CAW Local 199
Mandy Ryan, FFAW/CAW editor
Congratulations to these LUMA advisory committee members. Members of the committee will serve a two-year term until another round of elections is held at the next LUMA conference.

LUMA is an association representing CAW local union communicators, web administrators, writers, photographers, and editors who cover the people, news, issues and events that impact CAW local unions across Canada.

Party For Our Times Magazine

Our Times Magazine will celebrate 30 years of stories about workers' rights and social justice on December 3 in Toronto.

The Our Times 30th anniversary party will be held at 25 Cecil Street in Toronto starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 1.

The keynote speaker is NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan who will discuss workers' rights and social justice. The evening will also include The People vs Harper Verdict, members of the Common Thread Community Chorus, light buffet, dancing, as well as a silent auction.

Tickets are $50 (students, low-waged and unwaged $20 or pay what you can). For more information or to order tickets, send an email to Liz at staff@ourtimes.ca or call 416-703-7661. Toll free is 1-800-648-6131.

Join in the fun.

Staff Appointment

CAW President Ken Lewenza has appointed CAW Local 303 President and National Executive Board member Greg Burton to staff as a service representative working out of the national office, effective Sunday, November 13.


 

Retiree settlement closes
book on GM bailout

Nov 9, 2011
John Spears Toronto Star

The books have finally closed on the government bailout of General Motors Canada with the set-up of a trust fund to cover the health care benefits of retired workers.

GM will pay a total of $2.5 billion into a healthcare trust under the agreement, finalized Tuesday by the Ontario Court of Justice.

It puts the cap on the struggles of both GM of Canada and its U.S. parent, which flirted with bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009 before being rescued by government financing.

"It was the last element," said GM of Canada spokeswoman Faye Roberts. "We're glad to see it put to bed."

The company will pay $1 billion to the trust immediately, and the balance over the next seven years.

The money will be used to cover healthcare benefits for 32,000 GM retirees, which had been thrown into question when the company flirted with bankruptcy in 2009.

GM of Canada secured $6 billion in government aid in 2009 to stay afloat.

Part of the deal was that the company would set up a healthcare trust to fund the benefits of retirees.

Ken Lewenza, president of the CAW, said court approval was needed because the union isn't the official bargaining agent for retirees, who had independent legal representation in the settlement.

"They had a lot of questions, and legitimate stuff," he said. "Their anxieties were high, their questions were significant…The whole idea of a healthcare trust was never in their vocabulary when they retired."

Lewenza said federal government officials told the union that the company couldn't survive with the ongoing liability of retiree healthcare on its books.

"We've got money now regardless of what General Motors' situation is moving forward. That's the positive," he said.

"The negative part is, we've got to hope for good returns to maximize the healthcare benefits that we provide our retirees."

Lewenza said there's been no reduction in benefits, but future benefit levels will be determined by the trust's performance.

The settlement took a long time to work out because "there was no law in Canada to allow this kind of a healthcare trust to work," Lewenza said.

Federal and Ontario laws both had to be changed for the trust to proceed, he said.

GM of Canada benefits from the settlement because it removes $3 billion in liabilities from the company's books. The company said it will record an accounting gain of $0.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lewenza said the company was "incredibly aggressive" in pursuing the settlement.

"Six or seven months ago they said publicly if the healthcare trust does not get done, it's not likely that General Motors will have any real purpose to invest in Canada again," he said.

Asked about Lewenza's statement, Roberts said:

"It was very important in order to improve the competitiveness of our over-all costs here by having the liabilities for the post-retirement health care be moved to the independent trust."

 

Ford doubles down on flagging Flex for 2013

A refreshed Ford Flex will be shown at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2013 model drops the Ford blue oval in favor of Flex branding. Analysts wonder how long Ford will keep it in the lineup, but Ford has taken pains to distinguish the Flex from the Explorer. (Ford)

Sales down, retention up as
new model debuts in L.A.

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
November 8, 2011

Ford Motor Co. is upgrading — not abandoning — the Ford Flex for the 2013 model year.

The Flex was introduced in 2008 and filled the gap left when Ford abandoned the minivan segment. But the seven-passenger family vehicle — part wagon, minivan and crossover — has failed to excite buyers.

Sales of about 23,000 through October are down almost 22 percent, and Ford sold fewer than 35,000 in 2010, down almost 12 percent from the previous year, according to Autodata Corp.

Ford executives repeatedly have said there are no plans to discontinue the Flex, insisting it has its place in the lineup.

A refreshed Flex will be shown next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Flex customers are fiercely loyal, said Mark Fields, president of the Americas. The Flex has the highest retention rate of any car in the Ford lineup, he said.

The Flex has become popular on the West Coast, making an L.A. show introduction appropriate, Fields said. One-in-five retail sales are in trend-setting California. "It's helping to change our image there," Fields said of the car sought by buyers who want cargo room but don't need off-road capability.

The automaker has even taken the unusual branding step of removing the Ford blue oval from the redesigned front end, which now only has the Flex name.

Dave Sullivan, product analyst with AutoPacific Inc. in Ann Arbor, questions how long the Flex will remain in Ford's lineup.

"How much longer is there room for two three-row vehicles," he asked, referring to the popular new Explorer that gets better fuel economy, has more traditional styling, has almost as much passenger and cargo room, and costs less.

But if Ford wants to keep both, Sullivan said Ford was wise to update the styling of the Flex.

"It looks bolder, more urban and hip," he said of the grille and headlamps and updated interior with the latest MyFordTouch.

Fuel economy improves by 1 mile per gallon to 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway by adding twin independent variable camshaft timing to the 3.5-liter V-6 engine. It delivers 285 horsepower, which is up by about 20 horsepower.

The six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission has paddle shifters for manual control.

The Flex joins the Ford Explorer in offering rear inflatable seatbelts. It offers adaptive cruise control, collision warning systems and blind spot detection.

The Flex is built in Oakville, Ontario, alongside the sister Lincoln MKT, which has also been upgraded and will be shown in California next week.


CAW Contact
November 4, 2011
Volume 41, No. 39

 

AC Must Reverse Scheduling Crew Decision, CAW says

The CAW is calling on Air Canada to reverse its decision to relocate crew scheduling personnel, from Montreal to Toronto.

Air Canada recently notified the CAW that it would be demanding the approximately 130 crew scheduling and flight operations members move from Montreal to Toronto -or face unemployment.

Air Canada did not give any reasonable rationale for the sudden change. "Our members lives will be adversely affected by this decision," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "With the nature of the work that our members perform and the technology that exists today this decision makes no sense."

The CAW is calling on Air Canada to reverse this decision immediately. "We are going to take on this challenge head on," vowed CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross.

The union has planned a series of meetings with the membership where the CAW will be developing a strategy to push the airline to reverse its decision.

The CAW crew scheduling groups have been in contract negotiations with Air Canada since August, 2011. Progress in bargaining was slow and recently a federal conciliator was appointed to assist with the process.

CAW Focuses Spotlight on Bad Trade Deal with Europe

CAW members take their protest against the CETA to the provincial legislative building in Victoria, British Columbia on October 17.

Actions by CAW members in Vancouver, British Columbia and Windsor, Ontario on October 17 helped raise the profile of a national campaign to stop a potentially damaging free trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

In B.C., CAW Local 111 members organized a public demonstration outside the provincial legislature in Victoria to protest the proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Demonstrators delivered 300 signed letters opposing the CETA to Premier Christy Clark in the legislature, through NDP MLA, and CAW Local 111 member,
Mable Elmore.

CAW Local 111 Women's Committee Chairperson Ruth Armstrong said the proposed trade pact has been negotiated under lock-and-key by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, and it's time all parties informed Canadians what's at stake.

"We are very disturbed by what we've heard about this deal, through leaked texts and news reports," said Armstrong, who was a lead organizer for the Victoria rally.

The CETA could impact how governments, including city governments, purchase goods and services (restricting the use of job-creating 'buy-local' procurement policies). The deal also threatens to privatize water services, drive up the cost of private pharmaceuticals, and kill up to 150,000 manufacturing jobs, among a host of other issues.

In Windsor, local CAW representatives delivered deputations to city council in support of a resolution that calls on the federal government to ensure municipal interests are protected during the CETA talks (municipalities are the only level of government not represented at the bargaining table). The resolution also calls on government to provide municipalities regular and detailed status updates on the trade negotiations.

CAW Local 444 First Vice President and Windsor District Labour Council President Dino Chiodo said that while the resolution lacked the "teeth" unions in the community had hoped for to hold the government to account, it has helped kick-start a public dialogue on the CETA in Windsor (A mass demonstration against the CETA was later held on October 29, organized by Occupy Windsor and supported by the CAW).

"We need our city council to take a more critical look at what's being negotiated in this deal - as all municipal councils across the country should - rather than simply assume that any trade deal is a good trade deal," Chiodo said.

These actions coincided with a national "Week of Action" organized by the Trade Justice Network that paralleled the ninth round of official CETA negotiations. The negotiations ran from October 17-21 in Ottawa. Government officials are expecting CETA talks to wrap up by early 2012.

For more information on the national CETA campaign, visit: http://www.tradejusticenetwork.ca/

Peggy Nash Launches NDP Leadership Campaign

Current NDP MP and former Assistant to the CAW National President Peggy Nash announced her NDP leadership bid on October 28, vowing to make jobs and the Canadian economy a focus of her campaign.

"Everyone knows the NDP has its heart in the right place," Nash told the crowd. "I can make it clear to Canadians we can manage the economy."

Nash attacked the economic priorities of Prime Minister Harper vowing that her NDP government would "make sure that our economy works to the benefit of all Canadians, not just the few at the top."

Former party leader Jack Layton appointed Nash Finance Critic in 2011 and Industry Critic in 2006.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said in a letter to local unions, staff and co-ordinators that although the CAW is no longer connected to the NDP in any official capacity, he supports Peggy and her campaign to become NDP leader.

"Peggy is a credible, powerful voice on behalf of working people, social justice, and the environment," said Lewenza. "I am confident that with Peggy Nash as leader of the Official Opposition, Canadians would have a better chance of resisting the damaging, unfair policies of the Harper government. This must be our top priority."

Nash, who is fluent in French and Spanish , called the NDP leadership race a "critical moment" and a "historic opportunity for progressives from Quebec and Canada, right across this country to harness this great swelling of optimism and energy."

For more information on Peggy's campaign, to get involved or donate, please visit: http://www.peggynash.ca/


Congratulations 2011 LUMA Awards

 

Text and Newsletter - General Excellence

Locals under 1000 members
CAW Local 1859 - The Spark
Text and Newsletter - General Excellence Locals over 1000 members
FFAW - The Forum
Text and Newsletter - Best Story
FFAW - The Forum ("Defying the Odds")
Text and Newsletter - Best Layout and

Design


CAW Local 1285 - 50th Anniversary Book
Text and Newsletter - Best Layout and Design Honourable Mention
CAW Local 2002 - The Rose Vine

In special recognition of 43 years of quality, rank and file labour communications
CAW Local 1520 - News Headline

Website - Best Overall Website
CAW Local 2002 - http://www.caw2002tca.ca/
Website - Best Homepage
CAW Local 199 - http://www.caw199.com/
Website - Best Campaign Page
CAW Local 199 - www.caw199.com/whyjoinaunion

Photography - Best Overall Labour Photo
CAW Local 199
Photography - Best Labour Portrait
CAW Local 112
Photography - Best Activist Photo
CAW Local 222

Most Innovative Use of New Media
CAW Local 88 - Go Mobile!

Best Use of Social Media
CAW Local 444

Most Creative Media Project
CAW Local 199 - 75th Anniversary Calendar

Most Creative Media Project Honourable Mention
CAW Local 2002 - Fair Deal Bracelets

Audio Visual - Best Video
CAW Local 114 - Hair on Fire

 

Ford of Canada sales lead
the market year-to-date

November 3, 2011

Second-best October since 1999

October Highlights:

  • Ford Focus sales increased 12%
  • Ford Transit Connect sales rose 4%
  • Ford Escape sales were up 2%
  • Ford Explorer sales jumped 368%
  • Ford Expedition sales rose 1%
  • Ford Ranger sales were up 35%
  • Lincoln MKZ sales increased 7%

OAKVILLE, Ont., November 1, 2011 – With overall sales up 4 per cent year-to-date, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited continues to lead the market in Canada. Demand for the fuel-efficient Ford Focus, up 12 per cent compared to last October, led to its best sales in more than four years. Strong demand for the Ford Explorer helped sales jump 368 per cent compared to the same period last year.

“Although sales were down slightly, October still came in as the second-largest in sales in 12 years,” said Scott Cauvel, vice president of sales, Ford of Canada.

Our truck sales have been hampered by a shortage of F-150s with EcoBoost engines. The combination of powerful performance and great fuel efficiency is very popular -- as soon as an F-150 with EcoBoost arrives at the dealership, it’s sold.”  

Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited
October 2011 Vehicle Sales

 

 

 

CAW Contact
October 28, 2011
Volume 41, No. 38

 

Harper's Gun Bill Sets Canada Back Decades, CAW says

The introduction of Bill C-19 on October 25 in the House of Commons, and its possible coming into force, will set Canada's gun control efforts back decades and compromise public safety, warns CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

The bill, introduced by the Harper government, aims not only to eliminate the registration requirement for non-restricted firearms (a move that has been expected since the Conservatives formed a majority government on May 3), but also to cull over 15 years worth of useful long-gun registry data.

"The long-gun registry has been an important part of Canada's gun control program, which the Harper government is effectively taking the axe to," Lewenza said. "This aggressive push to weaken Canada's gun laws is more a show of political opportunism than common sense."

CAW Women's Programs Director Julie White said even gun owners can't deny the fact police officers refer to the registry over 16,000 times daily, particularly for preventative actions and when intervening in domestic disputes, and that's an important piece in national efforts to stop violence against women and children.

"Since its inception in 1995, the rate of women murdered with firearms by their partner has dropped substantially, by 69 per cent," White said. "Our efforts to maintain the long-gun registry, along with countless other Canadians, have been rooted in the principles of public safety and fostering a culture of responsible gun ownership. Bill C-19 puts that at risk."

Since the long-gun registry was established (in response to the shooting deaths of 14 women at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989) the CAW has championed gun control efforts and worked in close coordination with gun control advocacy groups, national women's organizations, suicide prevention groups and the broader labour movement, said Jenny Ahn, CAW Director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action.

"Bill C-19 isn't officially a done deal," Ahn said. "Like any piece of legislation it must still stand up to the scrutiny of our democracy and our activists will work hard to make sure all Canadians understand what's at stake."

Earlier this year, CAW activists and allies held a series of flash mobs and rallies in communities across Southern Ontario to raise awareness about the importance of keeping Canada's long-gun registry in place.

CAW President Urges Support for Occupy Movements

CAW President Ken Lewenza gets a tour of the Occupy Toronto site at St. James Park in Toronto, October 21.

CAW President Ken Lewenza voiced his support for participants of Occupy Toronto, currently living in a park in downtown Toronto. He visited the site on October 21.

"This is a diverse group of engaged citizens expressing their desire for a different direction for our nation," said Lewenza, after his visit to the site. Lewenza spent time getting a tour of the site and meeting activists. He was impressed with the organization of the grounds and democratic structures set up by the Occupy participants. On October 15, Lewenza also participated in Occupy
Windsor.

"Many of the folks camped out here are young people who are fed up with the system they've inherited. They see clearly the growing inequality in our country and that far too many people are being left behind. Their determination and strength should not to be underestimated. We don't know where these movements will lead, but their presence is truly significant."

On October 21 the CAW brought a hot lunch to occupation activists and will be providing ongoing support. Lewenza also urged CAW members in other parts of the country to support Occupy movements in their communities.

To get up to date information on Occupy Toronto, please visit: http://occupyto.org/home/


CAW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Nav Canada

CAW Local 1016 has reached a two-year tentative agreement with Nav Canada. CAW members provide training and vital operational support to Canada's air traffic control system and aviation users.

This marks the second time this year that the CAW has negotiated a collective agreement at Nav Canada without any government intervention.

"This is a great example of how free collective bargaining works in federally regulated industries," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "This is what happens when two parties are committed to finding a settlement that meets each others needs."

CAW members will be voting on this agreement over the next few weeks at locations across Canada.

"This agreement provides improvements in each of the two years," said CAW Local
1016 President Shawn Wood. "Our committee worked diligently over the weekend to conclude this agreement, which we feel is a good settlement that takes into account the needs of all of our membership."

CAW Local 1016 represents approximately 290 members working at all the major airports in Canada and at Nav Canada's Ottawa head office.

An Evening of Hope in Durham

CAW Local 222 Human Rights Committee, along with CAW Local 707 Pride and Human Rights Committee chair Billy O'Neill at an Evening of Hope, October 20. Billy spoke at the event, expressing solidarity on behalf of the union.

Photo by Eva Guta, CAW Local 222 Human Rights member.


CAW members in Durham Region took part in an Evening of Hope, an Evening of Remembrance on October 20. The event is an annual memorial for those lost to suicide, bullying and homophobia in Durham.

The event is sponsored by PFLAG Durham Region, the Distress Centre Durham and the CAW.

Members of the public were invited to attend, light a candle and write a message of hope. Attendees were also encouraged to wear purple.

CAW Supports Team Unity

CAW local union leaders had the opportunity to hear from the Team Unity slate running for election in the upcoming Ontario Federation of Labour convention, during a GTA leadership meeting on October 21.

The slate consists of Sid Ryan as returning president, Nancy Hutchison (United Steelworkers) as Secretary-Treasurer and Irwin Nanda (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) as Executive Vice-President.

The slate is running on a platform of unifying the labour movement in Ontario through stronger activism, building community alliances and the defense of workers rights -particularly in light of governmental anti-worker austerity agendas across the province.

CAW President Ken Lewenza has endorsed Team Unity and encourages all CAW delegates to the OFL convention to cast their vote for the team led by Ryan.

For more information on Team Unity, please visit: http://www.oflunityteam.ca/

CAW Members Ratify Agreement with Transfreight Inc.

CAW Local 4268 members of Transfreight Inc. ratified a new two-year collective agreement on October 23.

The unit consists of 74 members who are all truck drivers providing shunting and delivery of parts to the GM Cami plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. The transportation services to this facility are in a highly competitive market area and bargaining improvements was a difficult task. The bargaining committee worked hard to gain improvements in work scheduling for its members and reductions of contract drivers used when the production schedule of the plant changes.

There are minor improvements in bereavement leave, work boot allowances, medical note requirements and elimination of extended grow in rates for new hires in addition to a 3.5% wage increase over the two years.


Ford Motor Co. reports
$1.65B 3Q earnings


Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
October 27, 2011

Dearborn —Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday announced third-quarter earnings of $1.65 billion or 41 cents per share, making it the 10th consecutive profitable quarter for the company.

Earnings decreased by $38 million from a year ago when the Dearborn automaker earned $1.69 billion in the same period.

And the results were worse than last quarter's $2.4 billion.

Ford's widely watched pretax operating profit also fell $111 million to $1.9 billion or 46 cents per share. That is below the year-ago profit of 48 cents, but is ahead of analysts' expectations of 44 cents in earning per share.

"We delivered solid results for the third quarter despite an uncertain business environment," said CEO Alan Mulally.

Total revenue was up 14 percent to $33.1 billion in the third quarter on sales of 1.3 million vehicles.

The company now expects U.S. sales to hit 13 million for the year. Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth said a few months ago he thought sales would be closer to 12.9 million. But that has been revised after a good September and expectations that October sales, which will be reported Tuesday, will also be strong.

Pretax operating profit from automotive operations was $1.3 billion for the quarter, which is $45 million more than a year ago. North American operations generated a pretax profit of almost $1.6 billion — flat compared with a year ago — but Ford lost money in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa during the quarter.

Booth said the company remains on track to exceed last year's $8.3 billion pretax operating profit. Through the first nine months, $7.7 billion has already been generated.

In terms of cash, Ford now has $8.1 billion, substantially above the $2.6 billion in net debt a year ago.

The automaker had previously warned that the cost of commodities and launching new products could generate weaker results in the second half of the year than the first.

Ford now expects its structural costs will only be $1.6 billion for the year — less than the $2 billion projected. Capital expenditures also will be less costly at about $4.6 billion, compared with $5 billion to $5.5 billion forecast as part of the full-year plan. Officials say there are no cutbacks to product plans and the revised figures reflect improved efficiencies.

Commodity prices did drop in September, requiring a $350 million reduction in operating profit, which was a necessary hedging adjustment. But the adjustment has no cash impact and this charge will reverse if commodity prices increase or would be offset by the benefit of lower prices for materials such as copper in the future.

The Dearborn-based company did further reduce its debt by $1.3 billion, having paid down $1.8 billion on Sept. 15. But it also added debt because it drew on some available Department of Energy loans. Debt load stood at $14 billion June 30, and the automaker has said it wants to lower that to $10 billion by 2015.

Ford has made debt reduction a priority to regain the investment grade status it last held in 2005, which will help reduce borrowing costs.

Last week, two ratings agencies, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's, bumped Ford up to one notch below investment grade upon ratification of a new four-year labor agreement. The contract increases costs less than 1 percent annually, said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas.

Booth said the first $280 million charge related to bonuses to be paid workers under the new labor contract with the United Auto Workers will show up in the fourth quarter.

Ford also wants to start paying dividends again, something it has not done since September 2006.

Last week, Booth said dividends could be restored to patient shareholders prior to achieving investment-grade status. The company did not announce dividends Wednesday.

Booth said on Wednesday that the company is starting to see the benefits of the ratings upgrades on Ford's spreadsheets.

Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson expects Ford to pay a dividend for 2012 of 36 cents, starting with an 8-cent dividend for the first two quarters, a 10-cent dividend in the final two quarters and increasing to 55 cents by 2015.

Ford stock continues to trade well below the 52-week high of $18.97 but well above the 52-week low of $9.05. It closed at $12.43 Tuesday.

 

Ford Canada appoints new CEO


October 26, 2011


Dianne Craig - Ford Canada PresidentFord Motor Company of Canada announced the appointment of Dianne Craig as president and CEO, effective Nov. 1.

Craig replaces David Mondragon, who has served as president and CEO since August 2008 and has steered the company toward the  top industry sales leadership spot in Canada. David’s appointment will be the subject of a separate announcement. 

“Dave’s contributions to Ford of Canada during the last three years have been significant. He led the team through one of the most tumultuous times in the industry and successfully grew the business, bringing new customers to Ford,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “This positive marketplace momentum will continue to build as Dianne shares her extensive dealer relations skills, sales background and marketing expertise with the Ford of Canada team.”

Craig was the general manager for the Southeast market Area in the U.S., a position she assumed in March 2009. In this role, she was responsible for all marketing, sales and service operations for 520 Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Craig joined the company in 1986 in an entry-level field position and has held a variety of sales and marketing positions including advertising, product marketing, contests and incentives and field operations.

She has also led the company’s Ford and Lincoln Mercury U.S. dealer relations efforts. In this capacity, she directed the National Ford and Lincoln Mercury Dealer Council process and other related dealer activities including national dealer meetings.

Craig was born in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from the State University of New York and holds a master’s of Business Administration from Ohio State University. 


 

 

CAW Contact
Volume 41, No. 37
October 21, 2011

Massive Government Procurement Will Revitalize Halifax Shipyard

The October 19 announcement of $25 billion in federal shipbuilding contracts for the Irving Shipyard in Halifax demonstrates the key role government can play in rebuilding critical Canadian industries like shipbuilding, CAW President Ken Lewenza says.

Lewenza made the comments following the federal government's announcement regarding $35 billion in naval, coast guard and icebreaker shipbuilding contracts under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Vancouver's Seaspan yard won $8 billion of the total and the other $2 billion has yet to be awarded

"It's an excellent example of how public monies, through procurement contracts, can be used to support jobs here in Canada. I hope that this contract will serve as a model for future decisions by governments at all levels," said Lewenza.

"Without a doubt, made in Canada does matter. This government procurement contract will provide years and years of work for these highly skilled workers, and bring long term benefits across the entire community," he said.

CAW/Marine Workers Federation Local 1 represents workers at Irving's Halifax shipyard.

"Our union has done a lot of work over more than 15 years to raise awareness about the need to rebuild our shipbuilding industry," said CAW Atlantic Area Director Les Holloway, a former Marine Workers Federation president.

"Today's announcement is a huge boost to the local Halifax economy and a major step in the revitalization of the Canadian shipbuilding industry," Holloway said. "This is a major long-term benefit not only to the current members of CAW/MWF Local 1 in Halifax but also a huge boost to future generations of Halifax area shipyard workers."

Occupy This!

CAW members across the country participated in "Occupy" rallies, demonstrations, sit-ins and campouts in towns and major urban centres right across the country. On October 14, CAW President Ken Lewenza voiced his support for the growing movement for greater economic and social equality. "We are encouraging people to participate in peaceful demonstrations," Lewenza told the Globe and Mail. "The issues being fought on Wall Street and this weekend on Bay Street are issues that we have been talking about for quite some time."

Demonstrators fill the streets in Vancouver, B.C.

Specific reasons for demonstrating may vary across locations with some protesters decrying the lack of affordable housing and decent jobs, a declining standard of living with mass unemployment and underemployment, a loss of faith in elected officials, the influence of wealthy corporations and elites in politics and the ever-increasing gap between the ultra rich and everyone else - the catch-all group the movement is calling the 99 per cent.

The Occupy events and full occupations are being held across the globe in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street efforts in New York City, which began on September 17.

In Canada, occupy protesters demonstrated as far north as Whitehorse, Yukon.

CAW Members Approve Contracts with St. Lawrence Seaway

CAW members working at the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Ontario and Quebec have voted to accept new collective agreements by more than 77 per cent overall.

The tentative agreements were settled just hours before a noon strike deadline set for October 3.

The contracts provide wage increases of six per cent over the three year terms, with two per cent paid retroactively to April 1, 2011. Additional wage increases for many jobs also take effect April 1, 2012 with the introduction of a new job evaluation plan. Cost of living allowance protection was maintained.

Other improvements include increased shift premiums, more annual paid vacation leave and lump sum pay-outs of separation and gratuity plans, where the corporation also pays a substantial premium as a result of the plans' termination.

Members of CAW bargaining committees negotiating the new contracts were pleased that the agreements were ratified by their membership. However, union members remain bitterly disappointed with the interference of federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, who publically announced threats of back to work measures soon after the union issued its strike notice on September 30.

"In future, the Harper Conservatives would be wiser to first consider the 43 years of strike and lockout free history at the St. Lawrence Seaway before threatening to deny worker's rights to freely bargain collective agreements," said CAW National Representative Mike Menicanin.

CAW Locals 4211, 4212, 4319, 4320 and 4323 represent approximately 475 supervisory, technical, professional, operations, maintenance and headquarters positions in Ontario and Quebec at the St. Lawrence Seaway.

CAW Denounces Harper Government's Interference

The CAW is denouncing the recent actions of the federal Conservative government to prevent Air Canada flight attendants from exercising their legal right to strike during their current contract dispute.

CAW President Ken Lewenza called the decision by federal Minister of labour Lisa Raitt to refer the impending (and legal) strike by CUPE members at Air Canada to the Canada Industrial Relations Board on the grounds of its threat to public safety and security "outrageous" and "unprecedented."

"Canadian democratic values are being stomped on by the Harper government. They are not concerned about the destructive labour relations climate they're fostering in Canada," Lewenza said, pointing to similar labour disputes that took place earlier this year between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post as well as CAW members at Air Canada that involved heavy-handed intervention by the federal government to thwart strike action.

"Labour Minister Lisa Raitt's justification for her repeated interference into collective bargaining is shallow and dangerous," Lewenza said. "She claims her government was elected with a strong mandate to promote economic stability and recovery, and hence won't tolerate otherwise legal work stoppages. This implies that fundamental human rights and labour rights can be taken away when they are unpopular or inconvenient," Lewenza warned.

Lewenza said the government's actions have helped strengthen the bargaining position of the employer and has made a mockery of the collective bargaining process.

"Collective bargaining is a constitutional right and should include the right of either party to undertake a strike or lock-out to bring the dispute to a quicker and more effective resolution - as long as the safety and security of the public is protected," Lewenza said.

The CAW is calling on labour leaders, civil libertarians, and other democratic Canadians to oppose the government's arbitrary and anti-democratic actions.

CAW Ratifies Three-Year Deal with Voith Industrial Services

CAW members that perform cleaning and janitorial service work at Ford assembly plants in Windsor and Oakville Ontario, have ratified a new master agreement with Voith Industrial Services that includes wage and benefit improvements, among other gains. Members voted 73 per cent in favour of the deal on October 16.

The three-year agreement contains hourly wage increases in each year ($1.00 in year one, $0.25 in year two and $0.25 in year three) - which represents a nine per cent average increase over the life of the deal. Members also receive a $1000 signing bonus, a quarterly inflation adjustment of $0.07 per hour, a new prescription drug card and access to CAW Legal Services Plan benefits for the first time.

CAW National Representative Paulo Ribeiro said this was an impressive deal that makes tremendous headway for workers in both facilities.

"Our bargaining committee worked very hard and did an excellent job by winning meaningful gains for the members," Ribeiro said.

The CAW represents over 150 members working for Voith Industrial Services at both Ford plants - 30 members in Windsor represented by CAW Local 200 and over 120 members in Oakville represented by CAW Local 707.


Aerospace Workers Fight Off Northstar Injunction Threat

Over 100 CAW Local 112 members working at Northstar Aerospace in Milton, Ontario rallied outside the factory on October 17 to defend their right to picket in the face of a company threat to end
the strike through a legal injunction.

After just three days of Northstar workers setting up picket lines the employer threatened to file for a court injunction. This action was taken despite Northstar having issued a public statement after the strike began on October 13 that said it respected its employees and the collective bargaining process.

Shortly after the workers' rally, Northstar backed down from their threat and agreed, instead, to establish a strike protocol with the union.

CAW Local 112 President Roland Kiehne considered this a victory for the workers who are fighting back aggressive company demands for cost cuts and are trying to secure ongoing work in the facility.

"The company's actions were completely unwarranted, in light of the peaceful, orderly and lawful pickets that have been run by our members so far," Kiehne said.

Unit Chairperson Graham Davies said that the injunction threat proved an unnecessary distraction from the contract talks, which the union says is still priority number one.

"We'd like nothing more than for the company to pool all of its energy into getting this contract dispute resolved with our bargaining committee," Davies said. "Our members want to get back to work."

Northstar Aerospace produces helicopter gears and transmissions as well as other fabricated parts. CAW Local 112 represents 135 workers at the Milton facility.

CAW Launches Good Jobs in a Green Economy Course

The CAW launched its new Good Jobs in a Green Economy education course at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

Twenty-five CAW rank-and-file activists attended the first pilot session of the course that ran from October 3-6. The program included keynote speakers (including Tony Clarke, Executive Director of the Polaris Institute and Gideon Forman, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) and a series of interactive workshops.

The Good Jobs in a Green Economy course, the first of its kind for the union, offers an in-depth exploration of some of the key environmental crises in today's world, including climate, food and water. It examines the relation between these crises and the economic crisis faced by workers around the world.

The program investigates the transformation needed to fight for a green economy and examines both the impacts on workers and the role that unions can play in this period of economic transition. The course also enables participants to build activist links within the CAW and with allied organizations that are actively campaigning on environmental issues.

The mandate for developing this course was set out in the CAW's "Fighting for Good Jobs" discussion paper submitted and endorsed by the 2010 CAW/TCA Joint Council in Montreal, Quebec.

The Good Jobs in a Green Economy course will be running again in the Spring of 2012. Look for it in the upcoming CAW Education Schedule. Interested applicants are encouraged to register early. For further information, contact the CAW Education Department: educate@caw.ca or 1-800-268-5763

Bob White Charity Golf Classic

The CAW is providing $75,000 in donations to the Women's Community House London and Domestic Abuse Services Oxford to help these women's shelters offer much needed assistance to abused women and children in these communities.

Photo Left to Right- Jim Wilkes, Financial Secretary CAW Local 27; Barb and Bob Nickerson; Rhonda Hallberg President of Women's Community House; Kate Wiggins CEO of Women's Community House and Committee Member Kenny Rogers.

Photo by Georgina Anderson, CAW Local 27 retiree

This is the 5th year the Bob White Charity Golf Classic sponsored by the CAW National union has provided needed funding to these two community groups. In that time the charity has raised over $300,000.

The presentation of $50,000 this year to the Women's Community House London was made by Bob Nickerson, Chairperson of the Committee and retired CAW National Secretary Treasurer. As well $25,000 to the Domestic Abuse Services Oxford was presented by Committee Member and Financial Secretary of CAW Local 636 Jim Farrell.

Support Striking Auto Workers in India

The CAW is calling on members to support the struggle of 7,000 striking auto workers in India, who are facing heavy-handed repression by their company (Maruti Suzuki) and government over union rights. The CAW is endorsing a global appeal issued by the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) asking trade unionists around the world to lend their support and show solidarity.

The IMF, in partnership with LabourStart, has launched an online petition campaign and is encouraging union members, as well as concerned citizens, to send letters to Maruti Suzuki CEO Shinzo Nakanishi condemning the company's anti-worker behaviour and their refusal to recognize a collective agreement signed on September 30.

Maruti Suzuki workers staged a sit-down strike on October 7 after company officials denied contract workers access to the plant, and their jobs - despite having signed a new collective agreement.

Contract workers have been subjected to intimidation and violent attacks by company thugs. So far, 120 striking workers have been fired or suspended. The Indian government has sided with the company in this dispute and on October 10 the Hanyana Labour Department declared the strike illegal.

"The repressive action of this employer and the Indian government toward auto workers is simply unconscionable," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "This is another example of corporate-lead globalization rearing its ugly head and trampling over workers' rights."

Please take a moment to show your solidarity and send a letter to Maruti Suzuki CEO Shinzo Nakanishi by visiting: : http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=1136

Labour College of Canada Applications Now Available!

"Looking to expand your horizons as a labour union activist? Want to find ways to broaden and strengthen the social justice movement in Canada? If so, then the Labour College of Canada just might be for you!

Since 1963, the Labour College of Canada has been a foundational institution for labour education. The four-week intensive program offers in-depth analysis on a variety of issues relevant to working people today by offering courses like economics, the history of work and the theory and practice of unions, among others. The program also focuses on building research, leadership and communications skills and inspires confidence among participants to play a more active role in the broader social justice movement.

The four-week program (broken down into two 2-week sessions) will be held at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario and is open to all union members. The CAW has 4 scholarships available that cover tuition, travel, expenses as well as room and board.

Labour College of Canada applications can be filled out online here: http://www.canadianlabour.ca/labour-education/labour-college-canada

Downloadable applications are also available. The application deadline has been extended to November 18, 2011.

CAW Holds Atlantic Region Leadership Meeting

CAW local union leadership from the four Atlantic Provinces participated in an open discussion and strategy session with National President Ken Lewenza at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 13.

Lewenza spoke to the participants about the union's recent successes in the East Coast across many sectors, including ongoing gains for health care workers and new work for members in the shipbuilding sector. However, Lewenza also warned against mounting challenges facing workers, specifically with respect to the Harper government's attack on collective bargaining rights at Air Canada and Canada Post.

"After our experiences in bargaining so far this year, no Canadian worker should be fooled into thinking the Harper government has their best interests at heart," Lewenza said. "Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt should have her title changed to the Minister of Corporations," Lewenza remarked, highlighting the irony of the Harper government's reluctance to intervene in U.S. Steel's decision to lock-out workers in Hamilton while taking steps, only hours after a strike commenced at Air Canada, to try and force employees back to work.

Lewenza also acknowledged the tireless work of activists - across all sectors of the Eastern Canadian economy - to advocate on behalf of working people and encouraged leadership in the room to consider new and innovative ways of building the union for the future.

In a presentation that recapped results of the federal election and various provincial elections held this year (including Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island), Jenny Ahn, CAW National Director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action, impressed upon participants the importance of ongoing membership engagement in politics in order to further a social and economic agenda that supports workers, first and foremost.

The session, which included over 80 elected union representatives and staff from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and organized by CAW Atlantic Region Director Les Holloway, was the largest gathering of its kind for the union.

Staff Appointments

Len Olafson, CAW Local 144 president, has been appointed as a service representative working out of the CAW's Winnipeg office, effective October 24, 2011.

Wayne Butler, Marine Workers Local 20 president , has been appointed as service representative working out of the St. John's, Newfoundland office, effective November 1, 2011.

 

PILATZKE, Clifford William

Cliff Pilatzke

Passed away October 18, 2011

Retired July 1, 2008
37 Years Service

Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Sandra and Family

Dods & McNair Funeral Home
21 First Street
Orangeville, Ontario Canada
L9W 2C8

Visitation

Friday, October 21st, 2011
from 7-9 p.m. & 1 hour
prior to service

Service

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
at 2:00 p.m.

Peacefully at Headwaters Health Care Centre, Orangeville on Tuesday October 18th, 2011 in his 65th year; beloved husband of Sandra Fines; loving father of Derek (Ruth), Kevin (Lisa), Ryan (Kayla) and Lisa; cherished grandpa of Mia, Leila, Madison and Andreas; dear son of the late Nicolas and Zelma Pilatzke; remembered by his brother Larry and his sisters Lois Osmond and Bonnie Webber; predeceased by his brothers Ernie and Gerald; predeceased by his father- in- law & mother-in-law Ralph & Betty Fines. Cliff will be sadly missed by many other relatives and many friends.

Visitation for Cliff will be held at the Dods & McNair Funeral Home & Chapel, 21 First St., Orangeville on Friday, October 21st, 2011 from 7-9 p.m.
Funeral Service will be held in the chapel on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. with visitation 1 hour prior.

As expressions of sympathy donations to South Lake Regional Health Centre Foundation (Cancer Care Centre) would be appreciated by the family.

A tree will be planted in memory of Cliff in the Dods & McNair Memorial Forest at the Island Lake Conservation Area, Orangeville. A dedication service will be held on Sunday, September 9th, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.

 


Ford workers OK UAW deal

Agreement to keep costs close
to rivals, help credit rating

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
October 19, 2011

Ford Motor Co. workers have ratified a tentative labor agreement not necessarily because they liked it, but because many felt it was the best they could get in today's economy.

As final results from the United Auto Workers locals were reported late Tuesday, it became clear the agreement had passed after a groundswell of "yes" votes in the final days of voting.

Cementing ratification was a narrow 53 percent approval by about 5,000 members of Local 862 representing workers at the Kentucky Truck and Louisville Assembly plants.

Romeo Engine also approved the deal overwhelmingly : 492 in favor and 128 against. The Sharonville transmission plant in Cincinnati was in favor with a vote of 994 to 354. The Lima, Ohio, engine plant also approved the deal as well as the assembly plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, which passed it 999 to 346.

The Walton Hills stamping plant that will close by the end of the contract voted down the agreement, 273 votes to 44.

The UAW, whose top officials recommended its passage, was expected to confirm the deal's ratification today.

Approval of the four-year agreement that keeps Ford's costs in line with its domestic competitors should prompt a hike in the automaker's credit rating. Ford is hoping by year-end to return to the investment grade status it lost in 2005.

"That's the hidden dimension here," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California-Berkeley. Returning to investment grade, he said, will make it "significantly less costly to invest money."

Last month, a day after General Motors Co. ratified its labor contract, Standard & Poor's raised GM's corporate credit rating two notches to "BB+," saying the deal provided for GM's continued profitability and cash generation in North America. BB+ is one notch below investment grade.

GM said the new labor deal will only raise its labor costs by 1 percent annually over four years.

S&P said at the time it expects to also raise Ford to "BB+" with a stable outlook if Ford ratified an agreement that does not put it at a disadvantage relative to GM.

When the deal was announced Oct. 4, Ford's John Fleming, head of labor affairs, said the terms improve the competitiveness of the Dearborn company, and keep labor costs in line with the current $58 an hour in wages and benefits.

Shaiken said investment grade will make Ford even more competitive and likely to invest in the United States.

The proposed contract was all about jobs and investments: 12,000 jobs including 5,750 entry-level positions not previously announced, as well as $16 billion in investment of which $6.2 billion would go into plants.

That includes work that would have been done elsewhere such as China, Japan, Mexico and parts of Europe.

Heading into the final day of voting Tuesday, 63.2 percent of Ford's 41,000 were in favor of ratification with 16,691 votes in favor and 9,698 rejecting the deal.

The 6,993-vote difference — with about six of 58 locals still to report representing about 9,000 workers — was considered too large for the naysayers to bridge.

Some large locals rejected the deal in early ratification votes, including Michigan Assembly and Chicago Assembly. But the results alarmed many workers and drew larger numbers of employees who approved the pact in later votes, including members at AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock; Dearborn Truck; Twin Cities in St. Paul, Minn.; and Kansas City.

"We got more jobs," said Paul Vella who works at the Livonia Transmission plant that approved the deal by about 77 percent and is hoping to be awarded future work building an eight-speed transmission when the four-speed they are making is phased out.

"The economy's bad and I'm just happy to have a job," he said.



US. Ford workers closer to
ratifying UAW contract

Sunday tally, including Local 600,
shows 62% voting in favor so far

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
October 17, 2011

Ford Motor Co. hourly workers are on pace to approve a new labor agreement, with 62 percent in favor after weekend voting and key locals saying "yes."

In all, 14,845 workers had voted "yes" and 9,076 voted "no," according to an update Sunday on the UAW-Ford Facebook page.

But several large United Auto Workers locals and as many as 12,000 employees still have to weigh in.

By Sunday night, 62 percent of UAW members had voted in favor of the four-year agreement that includes more than $16,700 in bonuses and profit sharing over four years. The tally includes Kansas City, which late Sunday reported passage by 2,701 to 291, or 90 percent in favor.

The updated vote also includes passage Sunday at Local 600, which includes the iconic Rouge Complex in Dearborn. At Ford's largest local, 62 percent, or 3,255 workers, voted in favor; 2,027 voted against it. The agreement passed at Dearborn Truck, one of the Local 600 units, 1,220 to 981.

Local 600, including Dearborn Truck, was instrumental in voting down additional concessions in 2009.

That year, Ford had agreed to some givebacks. But when General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC promised even more concessions as part of bankruptcy restructuring, the UAW went back to Ford seeking similar language — including giving up the right to strike during 2011 negotiations.

Ford workers as a whole defeated reopening the agreement a second time, including workers at Dearborn Truck, who voted 93 percent against it. Ford did not revisit the deal, waiting until the current agreement to regain parity with its crosstown rivals.

Workers in Avon Lake, Ohio, were to conclude Sunday, but local leadership extended the voting period until Tuesday night.

Voting won't conclude until Tuesday among almost 5,000 workers in Louisville, Ky., and thousands more workers in engine and transmission plants in Michigan and Ohio have yet to vote or report results. Tuesday is the deadline for all 58 Ford locals to complete ratification votes.

"We remain optimistic that our tentative agreement will be approved, as it is fair to our employees and improves Ford's competitiveness in the U.S.," said Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans.

Dearborn plant examined
The Dearborn Truck plant was being watched closely because its membership includes some vocal dissidents, including bargaining committeeman Gary Walkowicz.

Walkowicz said he was a bit surprised by the approval, but he also could see that workers were changing their opinions — from negative to favorable — over the course of the week.

"People were voting differently than they were. The response of people has changed in plants over the last few days," he said.

Voting among Ford's 58 locals started last week with rejection at some large and high-profile locals. But on Friday, the tide turned to the "yes" side with an overwhelming majority at AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, and concluded with overwhelming support at plants in Cleveland and Minneapolis. By Saturday, 56 percent were in favor.

One plant to vote "yes" Sunday night was the Buffalo stamping plant, where workers voted 478 to 39, or 92 percent in favor.

Harley Shaiken, labor professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said the vote is following a normal pattern of early dissent followed by greater numbers of "yes" votes coming out later to ensure passage.

While workers are upset they are not recouping concessions made in the past, there are also those who do not want to risk losing the current offer on the table.

"What they get in paychecks today is only as good as the security of new investment for tomorrow," Shaiken said.

'No' vote would restart talks
If the contract fails, the current offer, which also includes a commitment to 12,000 jobs and $16 billion in investment, is dead; if the two sides return to the table, they start from scratch.

With 72 hours notice, the union can call a strike or the company can order a lockout of employees who are working under an indefinite extension of the contract that expired Sept. 14.

The Ford-proposed contract, reached Oct. 4, is three times more generous than the one reached between Chrysler Group LLC and the UAW. Chrysler Group LLC workers are just starting their ratification process, which will take about two weeks.

Several locals representing Chrysler hourly employees held informational meetings for their members Sunday. Most voting is to be complete next weekend.

Workers were told a "no" vote would likely force Chrysler and union into binding arbitration. Union leaders are warning rank-and-file members that arbitration would not lead to better terms, as arbitrators have rarely sided with unions.

Labor experts say an arbitrator will likely enforce the tentative agreement that was endorsed by union leadership.

General Motors Co. workers have ratified a new deal that offers smaller bonuses and fewer jobs than the Ford deal.

 

CAW Contact
Vol 41, No.36
Oct 14, 2011

 

Canada Must Set Quality Standards for New Job Creation

Encouraged by news that Canada netted 61,000 new full-time jobs in September, it's the quality of those jobs that matter more to the health of our economy than the quantity, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

Lewenza, responding to the latest monthly report of Canada's national Labour Force Survey (released October 7), pointed to the fact that nearly two-thirds of all full-time work was because more Canadians were self-employed.

The rest of the labour market gains (outside of regular seasonal education sector gains) were isolated to the services sector where wages often tend to be lower, and working conditions more precarious, across various industries like retail and hospitality.

"If I could I'd put every new job created through a quality assurance test to make sure it's a decent job - with good wages, benefits and that provides some stability - not simply a last-choice survival job," Lewenza said.

Lewenza's comments are being echoed by trade unionists, worker advocates and government officials around the world. Since 2008, October 7 has been recognized as the World Day for Decent Work - an initiative spearheaded by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Lewenza said the Harper government must take the lead on a national good jobs strategy in an effort to ensure all Canadians have access to quality jobs in the 21st century.

Lewenza also called on the Harper government to pull back from any planned austerity measures, and instead view the public service, rightfully, as an important jobs creator.

Lewenza noted that over half of the 61,000 jobs created in September were found in the public sector, while thousands of jobs were lost in the private sector -particularly in manufacturing.

For more information on the CAW's precarious work campaign or the World Day for Decent Work, visit: www.caw.ca/decentjobs.

Provincial Elections Signal Growing Support for Progressive Politics in Canada

Progressive politics received a shot in the arm following a series of provincial elections that saw Canadians vote in more progressive candidates, a further sign that Stephen Harper's strategic effort to shift Canadian politics to the right is bearing little fruit, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

CAW locals supported the re-election of Greg Selinger and the provincial NDP in Manitoba. (L-R) Carmen Ledarney (Local 2169), Len Olafson (Local 144), Tom Murphy (CAW Area Director), Greg Selinger (Premier of Manitoba), Ken Stuart (CAW National Representative), Mark Armstrong (Local 468) and Sammy Doyle (Local 468).

"These provincial elections have emphasized Canadians growing distaste with conservative policies that put profits above people, and that support individual entitlement instead of the greater good," Lewenza said. "It's another reminder that the majority government Harper won in May of this year is tenuous, and clearly doesn't reflect the views of most Canadians."

In Ontario, Lewenza applauded voters for rejecting Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak's politics of division by electing a Liberal minority government (lead by Dalton McGuinty) and substantially increasing the seat count for the provincial New Democratic Party. The election was held on October 6.

"The Liberals and NDP now must find ways to work together for the betterment of all Ontarians. There remains a great deal of work to do to rebuild the Ontario economy, create good jobs, reduce inequality, promote green energy and green jobs and expand our public services," he said.

Lewenza urged all new Members of Provincial Parliament to press for policies that benefit working people, especially young workers, the unemployed, the poor, new Canadians and the many others who have been harshly impacted by the recession and resulting aftermath.

In Manitoba voters re-elected the provincial NDP to another majority government (lead by Premier Greg Selinger) with 37 seats, one better than the party held in the previous legislature. This is the NDP's fourth-consecutive majority government in the province.

Manitobans denied the Progressive Conservatives any progress in the latest election, holding the party to 19 seats. CAW Manitoba Area Director Tom Murphy said the result can be seen as a resounding "no" to a Conservative platform that focused on privatization and government service cuts. The election was held October 4.

In Newfoundland and Labrador the Tory majority (lead by Kathy Dunderdale, the first woman leader to win an election in the province's history) was trimmed back by a breakthrough by the New Democratic Party. The election was held on October 11.

The Tories won 37 seats, the Liberals six seats and the NDP five seats, up from one in the 2007 election. The NDP actually topped the Liberals in terms of popular vote, collecting 24.6 per cent to the Liberals 19.1 per cent. The NDP also came second in 23 other seats.

The positive election results punctuated a strong effort by CAW members, in various communities, to help elect progressive candidates to office.

Jenny Ahn, CAW Director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action credited CAW local union leadership and workplace activists for their tireless efforts and ongoing political work during the elections.

"Building a stronger, more equal and just society doesn't just happen by default. It's a product of the hard work and commitment of politically active and engaged citizens," Ahn said. "It's rewarding to see so many CAW members turn their attention to politics and see how that's making a real difference in our country."

In addition to Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, elections were held in:

  • Prince Edward Island on October 3 (the Liberal Party lead by Robert Ghiz won a second straight majority)
  • Yukon on October 11 (the Yukon Party won for a third consecutive time, with the NDP overtaking the Liberals for second place)
  • Northwest Territories on October 3, where there are no official political party affiliations and a leadership contest has yet to be held

Saskatchewan voters will head to the polls on November 7.

CAW Builds International Links to Fight Precarious Work

Billed as a lead up to World Day for Decent Work, the CAW hosted two round tables on precarious work with visiting union delegations from Denmark on September 8 and South Africa on September 27.

Delegates from National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the United Federation of Danish Workers (3F) strategized with representatives of the CAW and other Canadian unions, action centre coordinators, researchers, and community activists who are engaged in the fight against precarious work.

The round tables highlighted the striking similarities between the three very different economies of Canada, Denmark and South Africa, including the escalating use of temporary help agencies and labour brokers and the super-exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers, as governments shift away from traditional immigration.

Discussions also focused on the power corporations are wielding to pressure governments to allow unrestricted access to these precarious work arrangements, further eroding the standard employer-employee relationship.

The roundtables underscored the systemic nature of the global rise in precarious employment and, at the same time, allowed for international solidarity to be made more concrete. These were also opportunities to build stronger links with community organizations that work with non-unionized workers.

The 2011 round tables are part of the CAW's continuing campaign against precarious work.

For more information visit: www.caw.ca/decentjobs

CAW Members Flash Mob and Rally to Save Gun Registry

CAW members across southern Ontario took to the streets and called on the Harper government to save
the national long-gun registry.

CAW rallies and flash mobs, which brought together union members and community allies, were held in cities across southern Ontario, including Windsor (August 28), London (September 15) and Kitchener (September 21). CAW activists in Windsor and London held separate flash mobs (carefully timed, public demonstrations that can take various forms) recognizing the 14 young women slain in 1989 during the massacre at L'École Polytechnique in Montreal. In Kitchener, CAW members held a public rally in the city's downtown core that generated widespread local media coverage.

These events were intended to raise public awareness on the important role the registry plays in Canada's gun control efforts. The Harper government (now with a majority of seats in the House of Commons) has promised to move quickly to dismantle the long-gun registry now that Parliament has resumed in Ottawa.

Holding signs of the 14 women killed during a shooting rampage at Montreal's L'École Polytechnique, flash mob participants call on the Harper government to save the national long-gun registry in Windsor, Ontario on August 28.
The national long-gun registry, first introduced in 1995, collects information about gun owners (those who own rifles and shotguns) and keeps a check on these weapons through a mandatory registration program.

"Keeping a tight check on gun ownership in Canada is fundamental to our efforts to end gun violence and, specifically, violence against women," said CAW Women's Program Director Julie White. "The Harper government's commitment to kill this registry sends a clear signal that we're moving backwards on this important issue. That's simply not good enough."

"These actions are the first of many targeting, what the majority of Canadians believe, is the Harper government's wrong-headed social and economic agenda," said CAW Membership Mobilization and Political Action Director Jenny Ahn.

CAW Local 1106 women's committee chairperson Shannon Tobin said that at its core, the union's campaign to save the long-gun registry is aimed at making sure dangerous weapons don't fall into the wrong hands.

"If you can register a short gun, a car, a cat, a dog, what's the difference? Why can't you register a long gun?" Tobin told The Kitchener Record newspaper.

Government plans to kill the registry were thwarted when Bill C-398 was defeated by a narrow margin in the House of Commons last year.

More information on the CAW's Save the Long-Gun Registry campaign can be found at: http://www.caw.ca/en/8182.htm, as well as photos and videos from the events.

Goderich Tornado Financial Appeal

CAW local unions are being asked to provide financial support to the Ontario community of Goderich, which was devastated by a tornado on August 21, 2011.

The town, which is billed as 'Canada's prettiest little community,' is "home to many CAW members who have personally experienced the loss this horrific tornado has caused," CAW President Ken Lewenza said.

The CAW National Union is contributing $10,000 through the CAW Social Justice Fund. Lewenza in a recent letter to CAW local union presidents and financial secretaries in Ontario urged locals to make a contribution.

Cheques should be made payable to CAW Canada and they should be earmarked for the Goderich and Area Disaster Relief Fund. They can be mailed to Peter Kennedy, National Secretary-Treasurer, 205 Placer Court, Toronto, Ontario, M2H 3H9.

Locals are asked to forward cheques to the national union no later than October 31, 2011. Donations received before December 1, 2011 will by matched 2-1 by the Ontario government.

CAW Local 584 Recognizes Bob Chernecki

CAW Local 584 Chairperson Kim Clout and President Dave Champagne are seen above following a luncheon meeting with CAW President Ken Lewenza recognizing the excellent representation of Bob Chernecki, assistant to the CAW president, who will be retiring as of November 1, 2011.

Coalition Launches Website for Rescue Centre Campaign

A coalition of citizens, municipalities, unions and other civil society organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador has launched a new campaign website as part of its ongoing effort to get Stephen Harper to reverse a government decision to shut down a Maritime Search and Rescue Centre in St. John's.

The website provides useful information about the important role of the St. John's search and rescue centre that, for years, has provided critical, split-second coordination of search and rescue resources and support for those distressed at sea, including fishers and other workers.

Earle McCurdy, President of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW/CAW), said in an October 7 statement that it's of "critical importance" for this decision to be overturned. "The Harper government is saying that saving money is more important than saving lives and we have to let them know in no uncertain terms that we find this position unacceptable."

Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour President Lana Payne called the move to shut down the St. John's centre as well as another rescue centre in Quebec City "completely wrong-headed and irresponsible."

The website highlights campaign events and enables citizens to send a letter directly to the Prime Minister. The site also links viewers to a campaign Facebook page.

To view the website, visit: http://www.maydaynl.ca/

Don't Kill Green Energy Jobs in Ontario, Hudak warned

The CAW Windsor Regional Environment Council (CAW WREC) joined with Greenpeace and solar manufacturer Unconquered Sun to erect a mock 'Green Jobs' Graveyard on September 28 outside of the Unconquered Sun facility in Windsor, Ontario to protest Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak's plan to scrap the province's Green Energy Act. "Hudak's election would have meant the loss of tens of thousands of important green energy and manufacturing jobs for this province," said Mark Bartlett, CAW WREC President. "It is essential that we continue to work with community partners to move toward environmental and economic sustainability."
(L-R Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Energy and Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada; Mark Bartlett, President, CAW Windsor Regional Environment Council and Sean Moore, Founder & CEO Unconquered Sun Solar Technologies)
Photograph by Trevor Weeks


Shelburne Nova Scotia Shipyard Awarded Refit Work

A shipyard in Shelburne, Nova Scotia has been awarded $2.4 million in refit work on vessels for the navy and coast guard, providing new work for CAW/Marine Workers Federation Local 9 members.

Shelburne Ship Repair is located about 200 kilometres south of Halifax. The facility was closed in August 2009 because its wharf and slip needed upgrading. The yard reopened recently after a $16.6 million renovation funded by the provincial government and Irving Shipbuilding, the owners.

"It's great news that a shipyard that was in some trouble in the mid 90s when it was first organized will now have a bright future," said Les Holloway, CAW Atlantic area director, who originally organized the yard. "This is really good news for our members working in the shipbuilding industry," he said.

Danny Branscombe, President of CAW/MWF Local 9, told the Chronicle Herald newspaper that with the Shelburne yard now bidding on other contracts the membership are hoping on more work to come.

"If we get a decent amount of work, because of the larger facilities and the capacity to haul larger ships, the numbers can only go up," Branscombe said. The current refit work means work for more than 75 CAW/MWF members.

The company has indicated that with the renovations complete vessels weighing up to 4,000 tonnes and more than 122 metres long can now be hauled out of the water. The yard can also handle two vessels at a time.

Sign Up Today! Visit: www.caw.ca/connected

 

Mich. plants reject Ford pact

Leaders still optimistic despite slim defeat at Michigan Assembly, Wayne Stamping locals

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
October 12, 2011

Michigan plants were the first to turn down Ford Motor Co.'s tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers, vote results showed Tuesday.

But many do not see the rejection as a harbinger of the contract's fate.

Members of UAW Local 900 who work at Michigan Assembly and Wayne Integrated Stamping barely defeated the tentative four-year agreement by 56 votes of 2,582 cast.

Some parts depots across the country also have voted on the deal, reached Oct. 4.

Together, they bring the total to 50.1 percent of production workers favoring the agreement, but 45.2 percent of skilled workers voted yes, according to the Ford-UAW Facebook page. The two groups vote separately.

There are 58 Ford locals. Voting must be done by Tuesday.

Ratification requires a majority of total votes to pass. If rejected, all promises are off the table, including $16,700 in bonuses and profit sharing as well as wage increases for entry-level workers. And workers could find themselves out on strike.

While some large locals at General Motors Co. voted down its new pact, GM's contract was approved by 65 percent of production workers and 63 percent of skilled workers, said Kristen Dziczek, labor expert with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

At Ford, "We remain optimistic that the tentative agreement will be approved," said spokeswoman Marcey Evans.

UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, in a weekend interview, said "there is no doubt in my mind this contract is going to pass."

But that was not the sentiment at Local 900 in Wayne, where workers voted 51.1 percent against the deal, said Bill Johnson, who is plant chairman at Michigan Assembly and did not personally endorse ratification when other 900 leaders did.

Michigan Assembly was promised a third shift next year to make the Ford Focus and C-Max. Johnson said workers feared adding a shift will bring in higher seniority workers from other plants. That would jeopardize current workers, if there were future layoffs.

Workers in website postings also said union leaders warned that a third shift would limit the overtime worked by two shifts.

Retired Local 900 President Jeff Washington spent Tuesday fielding calls from workers he represented for 24 years until 2008. He said members at information meetings favored the deal, but those lobbied in the plant were encouraged to say no.

"The international leadership negotiated a good contract," Washington said. "I'm sorry to hear my local turned it down."

Washington said the deal looks better than the 2007 pact, which Local 900 approved with more than 90 percent.

Bobby Coleman of Livonia works at Wayne stamping and voted no to protest lower wages paid to entry-level workers. But he said "I would gladly give up overtime to create more jobs." He also expects the deal, as a whole, to pass.

Union leaders at Wayne Stamping supported ratification.

Johnson described current workers at Michigan Assembly as "more jittery than most places" and said they were irate at the economic offer, when Ford CEO Alan Mulally received $26.5 million last year.

And the specter of talks in 2009 is still fresh. Ford workers were the first to agree to contract concessions and later asked to give back even more, to match moves made at GM and Chrysler as part of bankruptcy restructuring. Ford workers voted down additional concessions, and the company waited for these contract talks to level the playing field with its crosstown rivals.

Even Johnson said he thinks Local 900's results won't be the national pattern.

"I don't think it's a good handle on what will happen across the country," he said of the lengthy voting process that is shaping up to be "a real nail biter."

Many workers likely find the money offered attractive, he said.

"Up-front money means a lot of money to a lot of folks," Johnson said.

 

Contact
October 8, 2011
Volume 41, No. 35

 

New Agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway

CAW St Lawrence Seaway bargaining committee, September 29, 2011

The CAW has reached new tentative agreements with St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation October 3, avoiding a possible strike set for that day at noon. The CAW represents supervisory, operations, maintenance and headquarters workers at the corporation in Ontario and Quebec.

Ratification meetings are scheduled over the next two weeks, where members can vote on the new contracts. Details of the agreement and the vote will be released following the completion of the meetings.

Members of the CAW bargaining committees involved in the negotiations unanimously recommend acceptance of the new three year agreements. The committees were pleased that a disruption to shipping on the Seaway system was avoided.

CAW Locals 4211, 4212, 4319, 4320 and 4324 represent 475 St. Lawrence Seaway workers across the Seaway system in Ontario and Quebec.

CAW Members Approve Deal at Oakville Transit

CAW members at Oakville Transit, in Oakville, Ontario approved a new two and a half year agreement during a ratification meeting October 2.

Workers voted 78 per cent in favour of the new deal. The agreement includes a two per cent wage increase in each year of the agreement with minor wage adjustments, retirement incentives and improvements to scheduling practices.

"I think this is a great agreement that addresses the concerns of all of our members, including injured workers," said CAW Local 1256 President Angus MacDonald. "The new agreement recognizes the important contributions our members make to the well-being of the community through public transit services."

CAW Local 1256 represents 180 workers at Oakville Transit, including drivers, mechanics and cleaners.

Hudak Jeopardizes Tens of Thousands of Auto Jobs

Conservative Leader Tim Hudak's promise to end all provincial government subsidies to business, in the name of ending so-called "corporate welfare," would destroy Ontario's chances of winning new auto investments that are crucial to the future of several Ontario auto communities, warns CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"The puritan Conservative position against subsidies is driven by ideology, not economic reality," Lewenza said. "If enacted, this promise would mean we'll never receive another major auto investment in this province."

Hudak's pledge to end all business subsidies appears on page 15 of the Conservatives' "Changebook" platform document.

In capital-intensive, globally mobile industries like auto and aerospace, it is a near-universal practice for host governments to provide a range of incentives to attract new investments (including capital grants, infrastructure subsidies, and training subsidies).

In Ontario for the last decade, every major capital project by global automakers has received major financial support from both the federal and the Ontario governments. Typically, each level of government kicks in about 10 per cent of the capital cost of the new investment, for a combined subsidy of around 20 per cent. This has been the practice both at new "greenfield" sites (such as Toyota's new plant in Woodstock) and for the retooling of existing factories.

Several major Ontario auto facilities will require major retooling within the term of the next Ontario government, including plants in Brampton, Oakville, Ingersoll, Oshawa and Windsor.

"Without significant participation by both the provincial and federal governments, not one of those crucial projects will go ahead," Lewenza said. "Tens of thousands of auto jobs in Ontario will be jeopardized if a Hudak government puts naïve philosophical convictions ahead of concrete support for this vital industry."

"Of course, we'd all rather see companies investing in this province out of a sense of social responsibility," Lewenza said. "But that's not how most industries work anymore. You have to have money on the table, in order to play in the game."

Government participation is all the more important today, Lewenza noted, in light of actions by competing jurisdictions (including the U.S. and Mexico, which also pay large investment subsidies), the over-valued Canadian currency, and the need for auto companies to invest in new environmental technology and other innovations.

About 95,000 Ontarians currently work in auto assembly and components manufacturing. About 9000 new auto jobs have been regained in the province since June 2009 - the worst point of the global financial crisis.

CAW Welcomes Paperworkers

The Independent Paperworkers of Canada Local 69 have joined the CAW. The 116 members are now part of CAW Local 1917

L-R Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy; former CAW Local 398 President Doug Aitchison; former President of Independent Paperworkers Local 69 Jerry Heffernan; CAW National President Ken Lewenza; CAW Local 1917 President Robin Dudley; CAW Kitchener Area Director Bill Gibson and Health & Safety Co-Chair at Hitachi ( Local 1917) in Guelph Kevin Patterson pictured here at the Ontario pre-election meeting in Kitchener, September 19, 2011

CAW Applauds Support of Ontario Northland

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission has announced a new contract with Metrolinx to refurbish ten more rail cars in its North Bay, Ontario facility.

CAW Local 103 President Brian Kelly and CAW Local 103 Vice-President Andy Mitchell were on hand September 30 with Nipissing Liberal candidate Catherine Whiting and Liberal MPP Monique Smith to announce the contract, which is worth $9 million.
Taken together with the previously announced Polar Bear Express refurbishment the new contract means 12 months of work for CAW Local 103 members at the plant. Officials from the ONTC, Metrolinx and the provincial government have been meeting to structure a strategic alliance that will allow both government agencies to work more closely and to bring more work to the ONTC, Smith said.

"The McGuinty government has been very supportive of the ONTC over the last eight years with investments of over $400 million," said Brian Kelly, CAW Local 103 President.

"The Liberal government has supported us and is now assisting us again as we transition from the Metrolinx deal. In 2002 Dalton McGuinty pledged not to sell the ONTC and has kept his promise. We are confident the pledge to create a strategic alliance between the ONTC and Metrolinx that will bring work into our shops will be kept as well," Kelly said.


CAW Youth Conference

Over 75 delegates participated in the 5th CAW Youth Conference held at the union's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario from September 30-October 2.

Through workshops, group discussions and special presentations delegates examined the challenges young workers face in Canada's underperforming economy as well as ways to address those challenges for the future, including improving retirement security, stopping two-tier collective agreements and taking action to stop climate change.

Conference guests included CAW President Ken Lewenza, CAW Economist Jim Stanford and South African metalworkers union representative Alex Mashilo (NUMSA). The conference also held a Turning Point gathering run by Jamie Biggar and Adam Shedletzky (co-founders of the grassroots citizen mobilization group Leadnow.ca).


CAW Welcomes New Members

George Jeffrey Community Day Care, Thunder Bay, ON - 21 Members.

NS Technologies Group Inc. Injection Division, Whitby, ON - 150 Members.

Firan Technology Group Corporation, Toronto, ON - 76 Members

Rock-Tenn Container Canada L.P., Guelph, ON - 116 Members

CAW Women Leaders Remember Nancy Riche

CAW members, activists and leaders remember Nancy Riche as an outspoken feminist with a keen sense of justice, a tireless fighter and a trailblazer for women in the labour movement. Nancy passed away on October 1, 2011 at age 66.

Those who knew her best, described Nancy as generous, formidable, fearless, feisty and funny.

Nancy began her professional life as a community college instructor and a member of the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE). She went on to become Director of Education, Research and Communications at NAPE and then Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

She was elected CLC Executive Vice-President, a post she held for 13 years, before going on to become CLC Secretary Treasurer in 1999. She retired in 2002. As one of Canada's leading female labour leaders, Nancy also served as Vice-President of the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and Chair of its Women's Committee from 1993-2002.

Nancy served as Associate President (Labour) of the federal NDP and later President of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP from 2003-2008.

Nancy received the Order of Canada, a Dr. of Letters Honoris Causa from Memorial University, the AFL-CIO Meary-Lane Human Rights Award and the Elijah Barayi Award from the Congress of South African Trade Unions for her contribution to the struggle against apartheid.

Below CAW women leaders reflect on the contributions Nancy made to the trade union movement and to their own lives and the lives of others:

Julie White, Women's Department Director
"Nancy Riche's forward in her book to trade union women "Dear Sisters, Dear Sisters" starts out with "I had an idea .to write a book as a gift to all the women in the movement who supported me, cried with me, laughed with me and inspired me. You are my friends. You are my sisters."

We should now take a moment to reflect on Sister Riche - a feminist, a trade unionist and a social democrat whose shoulders we stand upon. Nancy was a feminist who blazed a path for us to follow; a trade unionist who empowered us to lead; and a social democrat who taught us change is possible. Our parting gift to Sister Riche must be our commitment to continue her legacy and create new "ideas" through organizing, protesting and pushing back."

Deb Tveit, Assistant to the President
"Nancy was a mentor to many CAW women over the years encouraging and developing their self esteem and instilling in them the ability to be leaders and be elected in leadership roles. I for one have benefitted from her encouragement and the confidence she gave me to hold many leadership positions over the years. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by myself and many others."

Peggy Nash, former Assistant to the President, current NDP MP
"Nancy was a fearless fighter for the underdog and the marginalized. She was a passionate trailblazer for women's rights and bristled immediately in the face of sexism or some other form of discrimination. Never afraid to say what many only thought, Nancy would disarm negative reaction with one of those mischievous smiles.

A tireless advocate for the New Democratic Party, Nancy led the party as president for several years, but she always rolled up her sleeves and pitched in to help local campaigns. How sad that she won't see the tremendous success next week of her good friend Newfoundland NDP Leader Lorraine Michaels. What a celebration she would have had."

Carol Phillips, former Assistant to the President, Women's Department Director
"I was blessed to work closely with Nancy over the years both at the CAW and CLC and some of my most treasured memories come from times spent with Sister Riche. Nancy was an extraordinary and complex feminist and trade unionist who never forgot how tough it was to grow up poor and she fought for the disadvantaged all her life. She was funny and warm and could also be a royal pain sometimes! She never shied away from speaking truth to power and looking them straight in the eye when she did it. She was an inspiration to many of us women and men alike. She was much loved and Nancy will be sorely missed."

Cheryl Kryzaniwsky, former Women's Department Director, CAW Council President
"I became active in my union in 1976 and was elected to attend my first CLC convention in 1978. I was nervous and so unsure of myself not knowing much about convention protocol or procedure. Nancy Riche to the rescue! Nancy held a pre meeting awareness session for "women" regaling those in attendance with a humourous look at what to expect. How to line up, speak at the microphone (which she insisted we do at least once); vote for or against the committee's recommendation; how to participate fully making sure our voices were heard. She became a mentor and friend and the loss of her voice on issues of importance to working women around the world will be deeply missed."

You can sign the memorial book here

 

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St Thomas Then & Now

 

 


CAW pressured by
Ford-UAW deal


No wage hike, in U.S. contract

Windsor Star
October 6, 2011

A new, four-year Ford-UAW contract that promises individual payouts totalling $7,500 as well as the creation of almost 6,000 new jobs across the border will put considerable pressure on the Canadian Auto Workers union to drop its longstanding opposition to profitsharing and two-tier wages, industry analysts said Tuesday.

"The CAW's back is up against a wall," said Dennis DesRosiers, Toronto auto expert. "If they don't bend, they slowly willow out their membership base."

In lieu of annual wage increases and cost-of living allowances, hourly Ford workers in the U.S. will receive a $6,000 signing bonus and an annual $1,500 lump sum in a contract that also pledges $4.8 billion in new investment in U.S. plants and the creation of 5,750 jobs. The new jobs will pay an entry level wage starting at $15.51 an hour - almost half of the regular hourly UAW wage.

The Ford contract comes on the heels of a four-year contract reached with General Motors, which also dispensed with annual wage hikes in favour of lucrative profit-sharing cheques and signing bonuses.

"There's quite a bit of pressure (on the CAW) now from two contracts with no raises, no COLA and moving everything to lump sums and profitsharing and large signing bonuses in exchange for work and jobs and large investments," said Kristin Dziczek, analyst with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. "This is one of their lines in the sand. I don't know what I would do if I were the CAW right now. They knew this was pattern at GM, this is pattern at Ford and this is what the UAW has been willing to do to lure investment and product commitments and job security in the U.S. They may have their own strategy for products and investment and job security in Canada that doesn't involve this. But the companies will come with, 'Well, the UAW did it.'"

CAW talks with the Detroit Three don't get underway until September, 2012, but union president Ken Lewenza said admitted that the union is feeling the heat from some of its own members who are ogling the fat profit-sharing cheques that have already been distributed to their U.S. counterparts on top of the payouts spelled out in the Ford and GM deals.

"It puts additional pressure, but we make $15,000 a year more in actual wages," said Lewenza. "We will have to show them that with lump-sum payments and profit sharing, you gain nothing."

He noted that since the UAW agreed to profit sharing, cheques have been doled out only twice over 15 years.

"The only trouble spot for us (in the Ford contract) is what did they do to the two-tier wage system," said Lewenz."We'll analyze it and we'll compared it."

The "good news" for Canadian autoworkers is that any new jobs moving to the U.S. are coming from Ford plants in Mexico, Japan and China, not Canada, he added. If the CAW hopes to preserve or add jobs it will have to follow its American counterpart's willingness to negotiate such measure as profit sharing and two-tier wages, said DesRosiers.

"The crutches the CAW has used in the past to lever aboveaverage compensation for their members are being pulled out from under them," he said. "We no longer have the auto pact; we no longer have a lower value dollar; we have an increasingly global auto industry.

"As the UAW embraced twotier wages as a fundamental way of dealing with concessions, it's opened up tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S., moving production, capacity to U.S. plants as opposed to Mexico or Canada."

In Canada, Ford is down to one auto-assembly operation in Oakville as well as an engine plant in Windsor and two parts depots - one in Alberta, the other in Ontario. Last month, it shut down its St. Thomas carassembly plant, throwing about 1,200 workers out of a job.

Lewenza said slashing Canadian wages will not keep jobs in this country since they make up only seven per cent of the cost of a vehicle. He said governments must step in with legislative measures that compel auto companies that sell vehicles in this country to also produce in Canada.

"Is Canada entitled to investment based on the consumer demand for Ford products? You can't reduce jobs and expect Canadians to continue to buy Ford products as if it doesn't mean anything to close plants and move jobs out of the country."

 

Ford, UAW reach
tentative deal on
new 4-year contract

Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers have come to terms on a new four-year contract Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, that trades annual pay raises for profit sharing and a signing bonus and promises thousands of new jobs building cars and trucks.

Toronto Star October 4, 2011

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers have come to terms on a new four-year contract that trades annual pay raises for profit sharing and a signing bonus and promises thousands of new jobs building cars and trucks.

Details weren’t released, but the deal is expected to be sweeter for workers than the contract approved by factory employees at General Motors Co. last week.

Both the union and company said in statements that they would announce details on Tuesday. Ford shares fell 16 cents to $9.21 in premarket trading

The agreement also is expected to bring down Ford’s hourly labour costs, which are the highest in the U.S. auto industry.

The pact still must be approved by Ford’s 41,000 UAW members in voting that will start next week. Approval could be a problem because many expected the company to restore pay raises and other benefits they sacrificed to help Ford through tough financial times starting in 2007.

Talks between the union, Ford and GM went fairly smoothly this year, with Ford settling a month ahead of the last contract reached in 2007. Four years ago, Ford and the union didn’t reach agreement until Nov. 3.

Up next is Chrysler, where the talks could be more contentious. The company isn’t making as much money as Ford and GM and probably can’t afford the same deals.

The UAW talks are watched closely because they set wages for more than 112,000 workers in the auto industry and set the bar for pay at auto parts makers and in other manufacturing industries.

At Ford, workers are expected to get a better deal than the union got at GM because Ford is making more money and it didn’t go through bankruptcy protection or take government bailouts. Ford was expected to promise a substantial number of new jobs, exceeding GM’s promise of at least 5,100.

The GM deal gives workers $5,000 signing bonuses, $1,000 a year for three years to cover inflation and at least $3,500 in profit-sharing this year. The worst GM workers can do is $11,500 over the four years of the contract. GM was able to avoid a pension increase for the first time since 1953, and Ford’s terms are expected to match that.

More than 1,900 entry-level workers at GM, who make about half the roughly $29 per hour paid to a GM factory worker, got raises of more than 20 per cent. Ford has only about 70 entry-level workers, and will try to lower its labour costs by hiring more of them.

At Ford, approval by workers is not a certainty. Ford’s turnaround over the last five years has resulted in big profits, but it also has bred resentment from some workers. Many want the company to restore pay raises and other benefits they sacrificed to help Ford get through financial problems starting in 2007.

Workers also are upset that the company gave CEO Alan Mulally a $26.5 million pay package based on the company’s 2010 performance. Ford has had nine straight profitable quarters and made $4.95 billion in the first half of this year.

Some of the workers say Ford will have to do a lot more than GM did for the contract to be ratified.


 

CAW Contact
VOL 41, No 34
October 1, 2011

 

Agreement at Coast Mountain Bus in British Columbia

The 3800 members of CAW Local 111 and 900 members of CAW Local 2200 who work at Coast Mountain Bus Company in British Columbia's Lower Mainland recently ratified a one-year collective agreement.

"With the political uncertainty at the municipal level and the lack of financial support by the B.C. Liberals we moved ahead with a one-year agreement," said Susan Spratt, BC Area Director.

The collective agreement dealt with a number of issues, which will give these two locals a strong foundation entering into bargaining next year, she said.

Included in the agreement for the first time was the recognition of eight Women's Advocates and the full recognition for our transgender members including full benefit coverage and full recognition and respect in the workplace, she concluded. Workers voted 58 per cent in favour.

Global Financial Chaos Underpins Need to Protect Jobs

Dramatic deterioration in financial markets and slowing global growth make it all the more essential that Ontario's next government be pro-active in attracting and protecting new jobs for the province, says CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"With the onset of another episode of financial chaos, it is all the more important for government to be in the trenches, fighting to create and protect Ontario jobs - rather than just sitting back and expecting tax cuts to do the trick," Lewenza said.

Lewenza welcomed the Liberal election platform commitment to create a new economic development fund for southwestern Ontario, to support investment and job-creation in the hard-hit region.

He also pointed to other positive job-creating initiatives being debated in the campaign, such as the domestic content provisions of the Green Energy Act, and the NDP's proposal for made-in-Ontario processing of mineral resources (which would support jobs in provincial mills and smelters). "Recent events have shown that this economic crisis cannot be resolved, without a larger and more pro-active economic role for government. We need active leadership and participation from the public sector to stabilize our economy and our jobs."

"In contrast, the Conservative platform seems to believe that cutting taxes and eliminating 'red tape' will capture all the new investment we need," Lewenza added. "That's misguided at the best of times, but downright dangerous during a downturn." Tax cuts have little stimulative power during a recession, because companies and households save their extra disposable income rather than re-spending it.

Lewenza also highlighted a little-noticed plank in the Conservative election platform, which promises to end all government subsidies for private business investment. "Tim Hudak's position would take government out of the game altogether, in terms of cementing the investment deals we must win."

"Hudak's approach puts ideology before economics," Lewenza warned. "If this policy were actually implemented, Ontario would never win another major capital investment by a major automaker. That would be a disaster for every auto-dependent community in the province." Aerospace, biotech, and green energy are other key sectors where government participation in major investments is routine.

"The international reality is that governments have to be at the table, or else these investments don't happen," Lewenza concluded.

The CAW represents about 125,000 members in Ontario. Additional CAW Ontario election-related materials and statements can be accessed at: www.caw.ca/en/10559.htm

Oakville Transit Negotiations Stall as Strike Deadline Looms

Contract negotiations between Oakville Transit and the CAW have stalled and Oakville Transit workers could be forced to take strike action as early as 11:59 p.m. Friday, September 30.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said that after many days of negotiations over the last five months, management at Oakville Transit has failed to address any of the concerns raised by its staff (including issues around scheduling rights, vacations and treatment of injured workers).

"The management team has sent a clear signal to our bargaining committee that they are not interested in hearing our concerns and that they are not interested in getting this deal done," said Lewenza.

Wages, benefits and other monetary issues have not yet come up for discussion at the bargaining table.

Lewenza lambasted Oakville Transit for its mistreatment of injured workers. The union maintains the company has issued an inordinate number of unjust terminations and suspensions targeting injured workers. The employer has also forced disabled workers (currently off-work receiving WSIB benefits or receiving short-term disability benefits) to use up personal vacation time during their period of recuperation.

CAW Local 1256 President Angus MacDonald said the employer has limited its availability to meet with the union before the strike deadline, which suggests a work stoppage is imminent.

"This is an unfortunate situation, one that we have desperately tried to avoid," MacDonald said. "Our members are concerned, not just for their own standard of living, but for the impact a work stoppage will have on transit service in the community."

MacDonald said the union is doing everything in its power to bargain a fair settlement in an effort to avoid a strike. In the event of a strike, union members have committed to continue operating all local car-A-van services for citizens with disabilities.

"In my 10 years of bargaining experience, I have never seen an employer act with such total disregard for the bargaining process as Oakville Transit is doing today," said CAW National Staff Representative Paulo Ribeiro, who is overseeing the Oakville Transit negotiations for the union.

The CAW represents 180 workers at Oakville Transit, including drivers, mechanics and cleaners. The transit workers contract expired on May 15.

Overwhelming Ratifications at Fairmont Hotels in Alberta

CAW members at the Jasper Park Lodge, the Palliser Hotel in Calgary and the Chateau Lake Louise have overwhelmingly ratified new collective agreements that provide wage and benefit increases.

CAW Local 4534 represents 520 members at Jasper Park Lodge, CAW Local 4273 represents 300 members at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary, while CAW Local 4050 represents 31 members at Chateau Lake Louise.

CAW National Representative Todd Romanow said the committees at all three locations fought back against company concession demands including concessions on the wage structure. He said that leadership from the three Fairmont hotels worked together in support of a common bargaining plan.

At Jasper and Lake Louise the wage increases were 2.5 per cent in the first year and 2.5 in the second year, while at the Palliser they were 2.5 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.75 per cent in the third year.

In addition, the rules and benefit levels of the existing pension plans were written into the collective agreements for the first time. Mandatory union representation at all levels of discipline was achieved and the locals were reimbursed for some bargaining costs.

There were other gains made at each location including at the Jasper Park Lodge recognition of a women's advocate position for the first time.

Offers of support from CAW locals at Fairmont's Hotel Vancouver and the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa helped send a strong message of solidarity to the company, Romanow said.

"It was our combined membership standing together in solidarity that helped us get strong deals in each location," said Brian Lackey, President of CAW Local 4534 at the Jasper Park Lodge.

The membership voted 100 per cent in favour of the agreement at the Chateau Lake Louise, 94 per cent at Jasper and 91 per cent at Palliser.

Conference Delegates Launch Sustainable Transportation Plan

Transportation workers, local union leadership and staff gathered from right across the country for the first ever CAW Transportation Conference, to plan for and discuss a sustainable national transportation strategy.

The weekend conference brought together workers involved in the manufacturing and production of transportation vehicles and those working in transporting people and goods by rail, air, road and water. The conference took place at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario September 23-25.

Delegates rise to their feet in a standing ovation after an address by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) General Secretary Irvin Jim on Sunday, September 25. For more on the address, please check out the next issue of CONTACT

CAW President Ken Lewenza opened the conference with an address encouraging workers to build alliances across sectors, across unions and across geographic boundaries.

"Can you imagine if all the transportation workers in the country decide one day that they're not going to work, in protest?" asked Lewenza. "Things just wouldn't move. We need to build bonds of solidarity right across the transportation sectors to take on this federal government."

Lewenza said that for the past 20 years, the federal government has downloaded costs associated with transportation onto the provincial governments. In turn, the provinces downloaded those costs onto the municipalities and now the municipalities are responding with cuts to services and maintenance.

In his address, CAW National Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy deplored Canada's lack of vision on transportation issues and infrastructure. "Among the OECD countries, Canada is the only one that doesn't have a strategy for public transit," said Kennedy. He said that Canada still does not have a high-speed rail service, despite the idea being discussed since the 1960s. "Had we dealt with this issue back when people realized it was something we needed, we'd be enjoying these benefits today, at a substantially reduced cost."

The conference included an appearance, via Skype, by opposition transportation critic NDP MP Olivia Chow and a number of panel discussions on challenges in the various sectors and changes experienced over the last twenty years.

Chow commended the union on prioritizing the creation of a sustainable and made-in-Canada transportation system. As transportation critic she lamented Canada's lack of foresight on public transit.

"We have fallen so far behind on public transit," said Chow. She said that developing countries are far outpacing Canada on this front. The federal government of India has plans to pick up the tab for 100 per cent of the cost of urban transportation, while China will be spending $100 billion on urban transportation corridors. Chow spoke about the need to re-regulate the airline industry and the private sector rail companies.

Chow said she would be tabling a number of private members bills related to transportation, including the upcoming national transit strategy.

A cornerstone of the conference was the We Make it Move document, which outlines four key principles underlying the creation of a made-in-Canada efficient and green transportation plan.

  • Environmental sustainability, where Canadian society moves away from its dependence on oil and toward renewable energy sources, as well as more efficient and sustainable modes of transportation.
  • Recognizing transportation is essential to our social and economic well-being. The transportation needs of citizens and communities must be prioritized over the profit-motive -through public transit agencies, crown corporations and the strong regulation of private sector firms.
  • Supporting local manufacturing, building to the highest environmental standards. When public investments are made in urban transit, passenger rail, ships and aircraft, there must be buy-Canadian and domestic content rules.
  • The promotion of good jobs that deliver a fair standard of living, provide safe working conditions, and the ability to organize into unions.

The document is also full of facts about the various transportation sectors as well as transportation use and employment in Canada. It was presented by CAW Research Director Bill Murnighan.

Both the document and the action plan will be discussed and voted on by the National Executive Board, and CAW and Quebec Councils.

To read the draft document, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10639.htm

For photos from the conference, please visit: Here

The International Trade Union Confederation has established October 7 as the World Day for Decent Work - a day for trade unionists to stand up and demand good-quality jobs that offer decent pay, security and stability, and to mobilize against the rising tide of precarious, poor quality, jobs in all countries.

Over the coming months, the CAW will be running news stories that profile the successful efforts of CAW members to win good jobs in their workplaces and in their communities.

BISNO Health Care Workers Convert "Casual Relief" Jobs

Health care workers in Thunder Bay, Ontario won ground-breaking improvements to their quality of work after negotiating a first collective agreement with their employer Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario (BISNO) on August 24.

Prior to the agreement, 24 of the 80 workers faced constant insecurity as "casual relief" contract workers - that denied seniority rights, benefits, low wages and offered inconsistent scheduling.

The workers, now members of CAW Local 229, transformed two-thirds of these positions from casual to permanent part-time that can work full-time hours. These members also received a substantial wage increase of at least 25 per cent (ranging between $18.62 and $19.00 per hour), new seniority rights and have the opportunity to work up to full-time hours.

"These casual workers, mostly women, had lived in constant fear that their individual contracts would not be renewed, which is a hugely stressful way to earn a living," said CAW Local 229 President Kari Jefford.

"In this case, joining the union proved to be the difference between having a decent job and being mired in insecurity for many of these workers."

The new three-year agreement also contained improvements to pensions, overtime language and vacations.

CAW Members Ratify New Agreement at Xstrata

CAW Local 599 members who work at the Xstrata Kidd Metallurgical site in Timmins, Ontario have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year collective agreement.

The workers voted 92 per cent in favour of the agreement which includes wage increases, benefit improvements, a $2,000 signing bonus and extends the recall rights of 30 workers on layoff for another year.

Wage increases are 3.25 per cent in the first year, three per cent in the second and two per cent in the third year.

CAW Local 599 represents 160 workers at the facility, plus those on layoff. This is the first agreement since the company shut down smelter operations in May 2010 at the Kidd site.

The agreement was reached nine days before the deadline.

Don't Forget to Vote in Your Provincial/ Territorial Election!

You can help determine the next government in your province/ territory:

Upcoming elections:
PEI - October 3
Northwest Territories - October 3
Manitoba - October 4
Ontario - October 6
Newfoundland and Labrador - October 11
Yukon - October 11


Don't forget to cast your ballot!

2011 FALL Residential Programs

There's still time to register

Remember it is important to give CAW members the tools and skills to assist with all the work that needs to be done in the workplace and in CAW locals. The benefit of this training is even more critical during these challenging times!

Here is a list of upcoming programs:

Toxic Substances in the Workplace - Oct. 30- Nov. 4
Health & Safety for Women - Nov. 6-11
Building Strong Local Unions - Nov. 6-11
Arbitration for Leadership - Nov. 6-11
WSIB - Return to Work (Ontario Only) - Nov. 6-11

Locals may be eligible for a subsidy by contacting:
CAW Education Director Lisa Kelly (1-800-268-5763 ext. 3790)

REGISTER NOW!! If you would like to register for any Port Elgin residential programs, contact your local union leadership.

Staff Appointments

CAW President Ken Lewenza has assigned National Representative Deb Tveit to the position of Assistant to the President, replacing Peggy Nash, who was re-elected as NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park in Toronto.

CAW legal department National Representative Lisa Kelly has been appointed to the position of Director of Education and Work Organization and Training, replacing Rick Rose who has taken a servicing/organizing role on the east coast.

Lewenza has also assigned National Representative Jo-Ann Hannah to the position of Director of Pension and Benefits, replacing Sym Gill, who has retired.

National Representative Ron Smith has been appointed to the new position of CAW Transportation Director.

National Representative Bill Murnighan has been appointed CAW Research Director.

National Representative Robin Fairchild has been appointed to fill a vacancy left in the CAW Education Department as a result of the recent retirement of Steve Watson.

Cammie Peirce, committeeperson at CAW Local 1285 Chrysler Brampton, has been appointed to the staff of the national union effective Sunday, October 2, 2011. Cammie will be responsible for pension, benefits, EI and adjustment, replacing Laurell Ritchie who is retiring

 

In Memory of
Debbie Pike

Debbie Pike

March 27, 1951 - September 20, 2011

Retired January 1, 2009
19.1 Years of Service

It is with great regret that we inform you of the sudden passing of CAW Local 584 Retiree Debbie Pike on Tuesday September 20, 2011.

Our Deepest Condolences go out to her husband/CAW Local 584 Retiree Jocko Pike and to both his and Debbie's family.

She will be sadly missed by all.


Debbie was born on March 27, 1951, in Killaloe, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley. The third child to Helen and Gerald Rhode and sister to Frank and Lloyd.

At a young age she moved to the west end of Toronto, where at the age of 15 she met her lifelong friend Olga.

Always the free spirit, Debbie had many jobs and lived many places during her life. Kitchener, Whitney, Toronto,
Sarnia, Montreal and Brampton. She worked for many years in a group home, cooking and providing support for people with special needs.

Debbie retired from the Ford Motor Company in 2009, after 20 years of service. During this time she met many dear friends and her loving husband,Jocko.

Debbie had unconditional love for people she knew and a joy for life. Always positive, always giving and willing to help and always spreading her infectious laugh. Family was her top priority. She brought her Mother to live with
her and care for her and did everything she could to be there for everyone who needed her.

She adored her grandchildren and was one of the proudest "Nana's" you would ever meet.

Debbie was truly loving her retirement. She got to travel, reconnect with old friends and was able to be there to help and support Jocko and the family as he dealt with cancer this past year.

There is not a day that will go by that we will not feel the emptiness left by Debbie's passing.

 

Retirees Luncheon October 2010
Photo taken at Retirees Luncheon October 2010

 

The last Crown Vic built at the St Thomas Assembly Plant
September 15, 2011 - 12:25 P.M.

 

 

CAW Contact
September 23, 2011
Volume 41, No. 33

Arbitrator Sides with CAW on Pensions for New Hires

The CAW has won the right to maintain the defined benefit pension plan for new hires at Air Canada, an arbitration award released September 17 says.

In the 62 page ruling, federal arbitrator Kevin Burkett rejected Air Canada's demand to put new hires into a defined contribution pension plan with an inferior, more precarious benefit. Instead Burkett sided with the CAW's proposal to maintain the defined benefit pension plan for new hires, along with a defined contribution portion to their pension. The result will be a "hybrid" pension for future new hires at the airline, consisting of both defined benefit and defined contribution components. Current CAW members at Air Canada remain in the existing defined benefit plan.

"This is an extremely important ruling and demonstrates that no employer, regardless of how large or small, should believe they have the unmitigated right to destroy a worker's retirement security," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

In the case, the union argued that the defined benefit pension plan was an efficient, effective and economically productive way of providing a pension benefit and that a complete shift to a defined contribution system would have a detrimental impact on future workers, and on the health of the existing defined benefit plan.

The new hybrid DB/ DC plan will see new hires receive part of their benefit from the existing DB pension plan (under a reduced formula) and part from a DC plan, contributed to by both workers and the employer.

The issue of pensions for new hires was sent to a mediation and arbitration process after the union and Air Canada were unable to come to an agreement on the matter in June. But Air Canada refused to engage meaningfully in the mediation phase of that process, and tabled a final offer for a 100 per cent defined contribution plan that was inferior to what it had offered during bargaining. The CAW, following the failure of mediation, proposed the hybrid DB/ DC model which the arbitrator eventually accepted.

"Despite unprecedented government interference in our collective bargaining, the union was able to build a clear case for the need to continue the DB pension plan, for all members, regardless of their age or start date," said Lewenza.

"Air Canada's proposal would have been a major step back for the membership. Instead, because of the union's efforts, the defined benefit plan will be maintained for current and future members," said Jamie Ross, CAW Local 2002 president.

CAW members went on strike for three days at Air Canada in mid June after negotiations broke down over demands for cuts to existing pensions, the elimination of defined benefit pensions for new hires, and other economic issues. Just hours after the strike began, the federal government prepared legislation to force CAW members back to work. Before the legislation was debated, the CAW and Air Canada reached an agreement on June 16. The government passed similar legislation forcibly ending the lockout at Canada Post shortly thereafter.

CAW Local 2002 represents 3,800 members at Air Canada, who work in customer service and sales in major airports and call centres.

To read the full ruling, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10610.htm

Support for New Deal at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

CAW Local 4275 members who work at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with wage, benefit and pension improvements.

The members of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver bargaining committee are Financial Secretary Maisie Tan, Recording Secretary Kevin Quinn, Trustee Debra Elless, CAW Local 4275 President Terry Tanasiuk, CAW National Representative Gavin McGarrigle, Local Chairperson Darwin Santos and Bob Orr, assistant to the CAW President.

The workers, who resisted company demands for concessions, voted 94 per cent in favour of the new agreement at ratification meetings September 13.

The agreement includes 2.5 per cent in wage increases in the first year, 2.5 per cent in the second and 2.5 per cent in the third. There are dental, short-term disability, and paramedical coverage improvements as well as gains in shift premiums and improved housekeeping workload language. In addition, family responsibility leave is now guaranteed in the contract.

In a major step forward in bargaining with the Fairmont hotel chain, company contributions toward retirement savings will increase to 3.7 per cent by the third year of the agreement.

CAW National Representative Gavin McGarrigle said the strong 94 per cent strike mandate from the membership sent a message to the company who continued to demand concessions and who had flatly rejected the proposal for increased pension contributions.

"There is no doubt that the willingness of the members to stand behind their union and take action if necessary was the key factor in reaching this new three year agreement," said McGarrigle.

CAW Local 4275 President Terry Tanasiuk said "the membership's awesome display of solidarity sent a powerful message to the company that concessions were not acceptable and that improvements to benefits and wages, as well as the breakthrough in increased retirement contributions were needed in order to avoid a work stoppage. The committee and membership have demonstrated how critically important it is that hotel workers are organized with a strong union like the CAW. "

CAW Local 4275 represents 450 workers at Fairmont's flagship Hotel Vancouver.

London Art Honours Trade Union Pioneers

A new installation of public art in London, Ontario's Peace Gardens honours a group of trade union pioneers who settled in the region more than a century ago.

The new public art depicts two hands - an older and a younger hand - and commemorates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who are considered early pioneers of the trade union movement who settled in the London area after being persecuted for their beliefs in England.

A new scultpture in London's Peace Gardens honours the memory of trade union pioneers the Tolpuddle Martyrs .


Photo by Georgina Anderson, CAW Local 27 retiree


The public art work is in remembrance of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who fought to enhance the lives of the working class more than 150 years ago, said CAW retiree and activist Hector McLellan.

"This sculpture symbolizes, through the image of 'Good Hands,' the good works, the struggles, the compassion and the tireless commitment of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in bringing about their vision of eliminating poverty and starvation for the working class," said McLellan.

Together with two local artists - David Bobier and Leslie Putnam - who created the art, McLellan helped organize the project along with the London and District Labour Council, the city, the London Arts Council, and local labour unions. A ceremony was held September 15.

Record Attendance at CAW EFAP Conference

Over 100 CAW members attended the 2011 Employee and Family Assistance Program/Substance Abuse conference held at the union's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin from September 16 to 18 - the largest ever turnout for the conference. Delegates participated in a series of educational workshops, covering topics like non-violent crisis intervention, teen addictions and problem gambling.

During the conference, outgoing national EFAP/Substance Abuse liaison (and now retired CAW staff representative) Steve Watson, announced a new Paid Education Leave course for union members, including workplace EFAP/Substance Abuse reps, called Community Advocate. The week-long program will run from April 15 to 20, 2012 (visit www.caw.ca/education for more details).

Building the Union Through Education

The CAW Education Conference will be held this year at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario from October 28 to 30.

The theme for the conference is Building the Union through Education and a key focus will be the role of education in building and strengthening CAW locals for the challenges ahead.

There will be a combination of workshops, plenary, and creative activities, providing delegates with an opportunity to organize, strategize, and build networks.

The deadline for registration is Friday, October 14. To read the conference call letter please go to www.caw.ca/assets/images/Education_call_ltr.PDF. For more information please email educate@caw.ca or call 1-800-268-5763.

The CAW's Local Union Media Association Conference is fast approaching and for those who have not yet registered it's not too late. The conference will be held at the CAW's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario starting Friday, October 28.

The agenda is packed with guest speakers, workshops on everything from social media to digital photography as well as writing and design basics. In addition, awards for communications excellence will be presented. The registration deadline is September 30.

For more information about this year's LUMA conference please read the conference call letter by visiting: http://www.caw.ca/en/7856.htm

Hope in High Heels Walk

CAW leaders and members brought hope in the form of ill-fitting women's footwear to the Halton Women's Place.

Assistant to CAW National President Jerry Dias, his son Jordon and CAW Local 112 and 414 members were among the 65 participants in the second annual Hope in High Heels Walk on September 17. The men's walk took place in Burlington and raised $50,000. A similar walk took place the next day in Oakville. The Dias clan was able to raise $33,000 for the women's shelters. Last year, the walk raised a total of $23,000 with 45 participants.

"This event was truly an incredible opportunity for men to a take a leadership role in the critical issue of eliminating violence against women," said Dias, after the walk.

Halton Women's Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children. The organization is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children.

For more information on Halton Women's Place, please visit: http://www.haltonwomensplace.com/
To see more photos visit here

Ontario Election 2011

For more election information visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10559.htm

The original ad ran in the London Free press on Wednesday September 14, 2011

To view this ad full size please click here

 

UAW wants richer Ford deal

Union seeks more lucrative
package than it got from GM

Alisa Priddle, Bryce G. Hoffman and Christina Rogers/ The Detroit News - September 23, 2011

Workers at Ford Motor Co. are looking for a sweeter deal than the one the United Auto Workers reached with General Motors Co. last week.

Ford, chosen late Wednesday as next up on the UAW's bargaining circuit, is expected to adopt broad strokes from GM's deal, but with significant alterations that reflect differences between the two companies.

Workers and industry analysts agree that to win ratification, a Ford pact must be richer than the $12,500 in bonuses, including a $5,000 signing award, agreed to by GM over the four years of its proposed contract.

"The GM agreement with a bit on top will be easy to sell in these economic times," said Art Schwartz, president of Labor and Economics Associates and a former GM negotiator.

Ford hourly workers expect more because the company's balance sheet is improving, and salaried employees got raises and bonuses last year. CEO Alan Mulally was paid $26.5 million — a sum that has rallied the automaker's 41,000 hourly workers to demand a better deal for themselves.

"We have the big honchos taking multimillion-dollar bonuses and they can't even give us back" concessions that hourly workers made to help keep Ford afloat, said Joe Pack, 50, who works at Michigan Assembly in Wayne.

Ford, Pack noted, is "making money. We want a part of that, too."

Hourly workers have filed a grievance against the Dearborn-based company, claiming they have not shared gains equally with white-collar workers to whom some wages and benefits were restored last year.

Settlement of this grievance, which has gone to arbitration, could be an avenue to pay Ford workers thousands more in bonuses than what was agreed to by GM.

Contract differences also could emerge in cost of living allowances and future product commitments.

While a cost of living allowance was not reinstated in the GM pact, those workers are to get an "inflation protection" lump sum of $1,000 annually for the final three years of the contract. Ford workers would like to see COLA back.

Under its deal with the union, GM has promised to add or retain about 6,400 jobs and bring some work back to the U.S. from Mexico.

Ford has a plant in Minnesota slated to close this year and builds some high-volume vehicles, including the Ford Fiesta, in Mexico.

On wages, the Ford deal could mimic GM's proposal to hold the line for senior workers while increasing hourly pay for entry-level or tier-two workers.

Work stoppage could hurt
Unlike GM and Chrysler Group LLC, Ford didn't take a taxpayer bailout — and as a result, its workers aren't under the same government-mandated "no strike" order.

A work stoppage by its hourly work force could seriously harm Ford as it works to pay down its debt and return its stock to investment grade.

"I don't think the UAW has a game plan to strike," said Schwartz.

"It would hurt their public image as they try to organize the transplants."

Ford has not had a strike in the U.S. since 1976.

Eric Selle, managing director at J.P. Morgan, has "high confidence in an agreement reached without a protracted strike (but) the Ford negotiations could be harder to complete."

Selle said Wall Street would not be concerned with a higher signing bonus at Ford, but would take issue with reinstatement of cost of living benefits, limiting entry-level workers or enhancing unemployment benefits.

Chrysler deadline extended
Chrysler Group LLC also will be expected to reach a version of the deals agreed to by the other two domestic automakers.

Its deadline was extended to Oct. 19, following a snag this week over health care costs. While the UAW cannot call a general strike against Chrysler, an impasse could go to arbitration.

Chrysler was supposed to be the next automaker in line after GM, but talks between the UAW and the Auburn Hills company snagged for the second time in a week over health care costs. Chrysler also wants to extend some provisions of the proposed contract beyond its 2015 expiration, including language that removes previously agreed to limits on the number of second-tier workers the company can hire.

On Sept. 14, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sent a strongly worded letter to UAW President Bob King, accusing him of sidelining the company while the union cut its deal with GM.The two sides resumed negotiations on Sept. 21, only to stumble again on these issues. Relations between Chrysler and the UAW have been complicated by the letter that Marchionne sent.

"This does complicate things, but I don't think it's fatal," said labor expert Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Bob King is coming into this with a vision and a sense of urgency. He wants to see this work. He's not interested in drawing lines in the sand," Shaiken said.

 

 

GM and UAW Reach Labor Agreement, Ratification Pending

by David Whiston - Toronto Star
19 Sep 11


Late Friday night, General Motors Company GM and the United Auto Workers union (UAW) announced a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. Neither side has released significant details, as the UAW still needs to brief local chapter heads in Detroit on Tuesday, and then GM's 48,500 UAW members must hold a ratification vote. It's too early for us to opine if the deal is fair enough to warrant approval from GM's UAW rank and file, but we think the union's options outside of arbitration are scant, since the UAW cannot strike at GM until 2015.

We anticipate it will be at least another week before a ratification vote is complete. Following the ratification vote or arbitration process, we'll be in a better position to analyze the agreement's full terms, so we anticipate publishing a more detailed note at that time. For now, we maintain our fair value estimate and, barring the unlikely event that the deal contains unwanted surprises with regard to GM's cost structure, we expect to retain our very favorable opinion on GM's stock.

Numerous media sources have reported that the ratification bonus is $5,000, which is more than 2007's bonus, but a few thousand dollars less than what the union had asked for this time around. We think these bonuses are a necessary incentive to encourage rank and file members to approve an agreement, and we think the probability of GM or Chrysler going to arbitration is quite low.

In a UAW statement Friday night, the union claimed it successfully fought changes to weaken the retirement plan and achieved "significant improvement to health care benefits." It also said the agreement has far greater transparency regarding profit sharing than in the past. The Detroit Free Press cited sources that claim the agreement contains no provision for a cost of living increase, that profit sharing will now be based on all of GM's North American plants instead of just its American ones, and that the profit sharing will be capped. The paper also said the old Saturn plant in Tennessee will reopen, that skilled workers will receive a buyout offer, new jobs will be added at powertrain plants in Michigan and Missouri, more production work will be done at GM instead of at an outside supplier, and Tier 2 workers will receive a raise of about $3/hour over four years.

We will be looking to see how much GM can increase the size of its Tier 2 work force, as these workers currently make about half the pay of a Tier 1 worker for doing similar work. GM is reported to only have about 2,400 Tier 2 workers. The reopening of the Tennessee plant is a significant concession by GM, but it should not drastically impact the company's ability to remain competitive. At GM's analyst day last month, management seemed committed to not reopening plants until the U.S. industry is selling at least 16 million vehicles per year, so the union won a large concession on this point, in our opinion. GM has about 570 workers on layoff, but once those workers are recalled, we expect additional new hires will have Tier 2 status.

With a tentative deal at GM, we expect the UAW's focus to shift to Chrysler this week, and we expect Ford F will be last to reach a deal. At first glance of the rumored GM terms, this deal looks like a win-win. The union can increase its headcount, which it badly wants to do, Tier 2 workers get a raise, and profit sharing terms are more generous than before. For GM, more profit sharing tied to vehicle quality, without a severe increase in fixed costs, means the company can remain globally competitive while seeing its union workers motivated with incentives that are aligned with management and shareholders to grow profits.

 

CAW Contact
September 16, 2011
Volume 41, No. 31


 

Workers Vulnerable to Possible Double-dip Recession, CAW says

Canada's job market still hasn't fully recovered from the last major economic crisis, leaving workers more vulnerable to layoffs, wage cuts and poorer quality job prospects in the event of a double-dip recession, says CAW President Ken Lewenza.

Lewenza's comments come after Canada's latest national job report showed stagnant growth over the month of August, as the economy lost over 5,000 net jobs and 16,000 more Canadians joined the unemployment rolls.

"There are clear signs that our economy is struggling and facing down another potential recession," Lewenza said.

Lewenza said that, while still poor, Canada's job market indicators prior to the 2008 global financial crisis showed workers had entered the recession in a much stronger position than today.

In September of 2008, there were fewer Canadians vying for jobs (18.3 million), the unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent, the employment rate (the proportion of Canadians actively employed among the total working age population) was 63.7 per cent, and part-time work made up 18.5 per cent of total jobs.

Today, there are more Canadians in the labour market (18.7 million), the unemployment rate is at 7.3 per cent, the employment rate has dropped to 61.9 per cent and the share of part-time jobs has risen to historic highs of more than 19 per cent.

He noted that Canada's recovery period flooded the economy with too many poor quality temporary jobs, contract jobs and other more 'precarious' forms of work - filled by Canada's most vulnerable working populations, including women, temporary foreign workers, new immigrants and youth.

"It's time for the Conservative government to stop just waiting for disaster to strike and start putting measures in place to deal with this impending crisis. This must come in the form of a good jobs strategy, which would promote the creation of sustainable full-time, permanent employment."

 

Long Term Care Rally in London

CAW members took their Minimum Care Standards campaign to the office of Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care Deb Matthews in London on September 7.

CAW Leadership, members and activists rally outside Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care Deb Matthews office.

CAW members from across southwestern Ontario presented more than 10,000 signed post cards from concerned citizens who are demanding the provincial government enact minimum care standards for residents of long-term care facilities. Matthews didn't attend and the cards were presented to an assistant.

The CAW campaign calls for 3.5 hours of care per day, per resident as the minimum needed to protect seniors in long term care facilities.

Shawn Rouse, president of the CAW's Ontario Health Care Council, said the standard is long-overdue. The minimum standard of care was removed from the Long Term Care act by the Mike Harris Conservative government. Despite eight years of Liberal government it has not been reinstated.

To find out more about the campaign, please visit here

CAW to Endorse NDP in Upcoming Manitoba Election

CAW local union leadership and staff met September 9 to plan the union's strategy going into the upcoming Manitoba provincial election.

Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration Jennifer Howard addressed the group, as did Winnipeg Labour Council President Dave Sauer and CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

Lewenza announced the CAW's support for the NDP in its campaign for re-election in Manitoba.



CAW National President Ken Lewenza was joined by CAW Local 468 members Sam Doyle, Bernie McLellan, Bob Mensforth and Jim McIntosh at a recent Manitoba election meeting of CAW leadership.

 

Labour College Graduates

Labour College of Canada Graduates on September 2, 2011 at the CAW's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

Pictured from L to R in the front row are: Frank Wright (Local 3007 ), Rachelle Cohoe (Local 444), CAW Education Director Lisa Kelly, Eric Leukert (Local 444), CAW National President Ken Lewenza, Michelle Harwood (Local 584) Back row, Sarjoo Molitol (Local 1285), Wayne MacLean (Local 444), Jeff Armstrong (Local 222)

 

Nominations for the Bud Jimmerfield Award

The annual Bud Jimmerfield Award which recognizes an outstanding CAW Health, Safety, Environment or Workers' Compensation activist will be made at the CAW's December council meeting.

The award is in recognition of the late Bud Jimmerfield, president of CAW Local 89. Bud passed away after contracting cancer of the esophagus from exposure to metalworking fluids during 30 years of work at an automotive parts plant in southern Ontario.

A few months before his death, Bud gave a moving speech to the December 1997 CAW Council meeting urging all delegates to fight for the living and to work hard to prevent future occupational diseases, death and injuries.

Eligible health, safety, environment or workers' compensation activists must be CAW members and must be nominated by their local union leadership or local workplace leadership. These activists must have shown leadership in helping fellow workers and participated in activities beyond their workplace.

Nominations for the Bud Jimmerfield Award must be sent to the CAW Health and Safety Department no later than Friday, November 4. For more information, please email: cawhse@caw.ca

Shipyard Re-opens in Nova Scotia

The CAW celebrated along with the government of Nova Scotia and Irving Shipbuilding the grand re-opening of the Shelburne, N.S. shipyard. In attendance were Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, Nova Scotia MLA, area councillors and Shelburne Mayor Al Delaney.

Pictured here: Irving Shipbuilding CEO Jim Irving, National Representative Carla Bryden and CAW Local 9 President Danny Branscombe.

Combined, Irving and the provincial government have invested $16 million into the yard and now anticipate hiring approximately 50 more workers. Shelburne Ship and Repair currently employs 50 CAW Local 9 members.

"This was the first time in the last 20 years that I can remember something opening in Shelburne, instead of closing," said Danny Branscombe, CAW Local 9 president. "It was truly a great day for the town and for our members."

The yard originally opened in 1939.

 

 

CAW CONTACT
September 9, 2011
Volume 41, No. 30


 

Overwhelming Ratification at Johnson Controls

CAW Local 222 members who work at auto parts maker Johnson Controls in Whitby, Ontario have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a new three-year collective agreement.

Production workers voted 85 per cent in favour of the agreement and skilled trades 88 per cent in favour at a ratification meeting August 28.

Jerry Dias, assistant to the CAW president, said it was a tough round of bargaining that centered on ensuring that jobs at Johnson Controls (JCI) in Whitby remained in Canada. During negotiations management informed the union that they were going to move the jobs to a JCI facility in Michigan.

"This was a fight over 165 Canadian jobs," said Dias. "We were determined to save these jobs."

"Workers in the auto parts sector across Canada have faced tremendous stress and uncertainty in recent years as employer after employer have demanded concessions and cutbacks and threatened closures," Dias said. "Our fightback at JCI in Whitby is part of our union's ongoing commitment to preserve jobs in the autoparts sector."

JCI workers produce door pads and floor consoles for the Chevrolet Impala as well as seats for the Camaro, assembled at GM's Oshawa facilities.

 

Ticket Tellers Take Aim at Woodbine Automation Plans

CAW Local 2007 has launched a public awareness campaign that takes aim at Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) plans to fully automate ticket-taking operations in gaming houses across the Greater Toronto Area.

Hundreds of local gaming sector jobs are on the line at racetracks and off-track teletheatres as WEG ramps up efforts to replace live mutuel tellers with automated machines.

On August 24, a group of CAW activists from across the GTA joined with Local 2007 members to hold a public information leaflet at Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale (a community located north-west of downtown Toronto) - the latest in a series of campaign actions planned over the coming weeks.

The union is raising concern over the company's new automation strategy, which is causing anger and confusion among workers and patrons.

"The company is pushing full steam ahead to replace its workers with machines, and hasn't yet stopped to ask anyone if this is a good idea," said Bob Orr, assistant to the CAW National President.

"They're stripping away jobs and, in some cases, important work hours from its staff. At the same time they're stripping their own patrons of the right to choose how they place their bets."

CAW activists across the GTA who took part in a leaflet drop at Woodbine Racetrack.

As part of their campaign efforts, union members have begun a cross-town leafleting drive at teletheatres (as well as Woodbine and Mohawk racetracks), informing patrons of WEG's automation plans and encouraging them to speak out.

CAW Local 2007 President Bob Ciprick, who represents over 380 mutuel tellers at Woodbine, said the general response from patrons so far has been positive.

"Our members deal with these customers each and every day, and have built strong working relationships with them over time. They are equally as frustrated with this decision as we are," Ciprick said.

The CAW has not yet called for a full boycott of Woodbine teletheatres, but is instead encouraging customers to place their bets at off-track locations that still employ live tellers.

 

New Agreement Overwhelmingly Approved at Great Blue Heron

CAW Local 1090 members who work at the Great Blue Heron Casino have voted 75 per cent in favour of a new three-year collective agreement that resists company demands for concessions and makes gain for workers.

The new agreement provides monetary increases in each year, some benefit and language improvements especially regarding seniority rights.

CAW National Representative Kim Power said it was a difficult round of bargaining with an employer demanding rollbacks during tough economic times.

"I'm extremely proud of our bargaining committee and the membership who supported them as together we fought off demands for concessions and instead brought back an agreement that we can build on," Power said.

CAW Local 1090 President Steve Batchelor complimented the membership and bargaining committee for their hard work.

"I truly believe this round of bargaining built incredible solidarity among the membership," said Batchelor.

"Over and above the monetary improvements, this agreement provides a commitment from the employer to initially increase full time jobs as well as reviewing the full-time/part-time compliment of workers on an ongoing basis," he said.

Local 1090 represents more than 790 full-time and part-time workers at the casino, located in Port Perry, Ontario. Workers voted on the tentative agreement at a series of ratification meetings on September 2.

 

Over the Top Response to Shrimp Allocation, FFAW says

FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy said he is "flabbergasted' to hear that Newfoundland shrimp processing companies want a 3,000 metric tonne shrimp allocation limited to offshore shrimp vessels only.

The quota in question belongs to St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI), a community-based group on the tip of the Northern Peninsula, which for the past 14 years has engaged Clearwater Seafoods to catch the quota using an offshore vessel. Clearwater and SABRI are partners in the operations of St. Anthony Seafoods, which processes shrimp in the town employing FFAW/CAW members.

This year SABRI asked Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield for approval to have the quota caught by inshore vessels and processed at the plant in St. Anthony. Ashfield approved the request, which means extra fishing opportunities for inshore shrimpers and extra work for St. Anthony plant workers.

But McCurdy said the backlash from other processors has been "over the top." "Now they're opposing a 3,000 m.t. allocation that would provide badly-needed work for a hard-pressed area," McCurdy said.

The FFAW-CAW has recommended to Ashfield that the harvesting of this allocation by the inshore sector continue and that fishing opportunities be expanded within the inshore fleet to benefit as many enterprises as possible.

McCurdy said the processors' position would result in shrimp being processed in Iceland or Greenland instead of St. Anthony.

The FFAW/CAW represents 150 workers at St. Anthony Seafoods and approximately 1,400 inshore shrimp harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Injured Workers Occupy MPP Offices in Ontario

Injured workers struggling to deal with poverty because of a flawed workers' compensation system occupied the offices of six MPPs in Ontario, including those belonging to Premier Dalton McGuinty and Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

"After more than 15 years of Tory cuts followed by Liberal inaction, injured workers are sinking deeper into poverty," said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan. He also cautioned that the election of Hudak on October 6 would make the outlook for injured workers much worse because of his plans for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) changes.

"Tim Hudak has made it clear that his WSIB reforms will take more money out of the pockets of injured workers to serve the interests of employers," Ryan said in a release.

CAW members joined injured workers, members of other unions and activists including many from the Ontario Network of Injured Worker Groups in the occupations on August 17. The OFL release indicated that injured workers are still attempting to get by on almost 20 per cent less than in 1996.

In addition to recovering cost-of-living increases, the protestors highlighted the need to end the practice of "deeming" that "cuts their benefits based on the assumption they are employed, even when they are not."

 

Families Squeezed by Rising University Tuition Fees, Report Says

The cost of a university education in Ontario is a growing financial burden on students and their families, especially for low and middle income families, a new report indicates.

The report entitled 'Under Pressure: The impact of rising tuition fees on Ontario families' examines major financial shifts that have negatively impacted students and families over the past 20 years. It highlights how low and middle income families are increasingly struggling to pay the $6,500 per year price of university tuition and other associated expenses.

"Paying for an expensive university education is a burden that not only falls on individual students, it deeply affects Ontario's parents as well," said David Macdonald, associate researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, who prepared the report.

"The combination of record high household debt, stagnating incomes, and steadily rising tuition fees have made it much harder for Ontario families to get their kids through school."

Today, Canadian families have debt equal to 150 per cent of disposable income on average, compared to 93 per cent in 1990, the study shows, which highlights the explosion in housing prices, particularly in urban areas, as a major culprit.

At the same time, low and middle income families make less or about the same in after-tax income compared to what they earned in 1990. During the same period Ontario students have struggled with a 244 per cent real tuition rate increase.

Government policy must address the financial burden of a university education in Ontario, said Sandy Hudson of the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario.

"Leading up to the provincial election, students and their families expect the political parties to address the issue of cost and the mounting debt that comes with pursuing a university degree," Hudson said.

The study outlines alternatives to increased financial downloading on families including reversing the 2009 Ontario corporate tax cut.

The report was commissioned by the Ontario University Coalition, which is made up of organizations representing students, staff and faculty from the post-secondary education sector. The CAW is a member organization.

To read the complete report, please visit: Here

 

CAW Local 199 Leads Way on Niagara Health System Changes

The long overdue appointment of a Supervisor to take over the Niagara Health System can be credited, in part to the actions of CAW Local 199 in St. Catharines, Ontario and other partners.

The Niagara Health System (NHS) operates three area hospitals in St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara, Ontario and has come under fire in the past two years for major cuts to staff and services, including emergency departments. Most recently the NHS has declared a C Difficile outbreak, that many believe may have been covered up for months. (C Difficile is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and other serious intestinal conditions and is a particular concern for hospital patients and long-term care facility residents).

CAW Local 199 President Wayne Gates has been an active member of the Niagara Health Coalition for several years and was recently elected to the Niagara Falls City Council.

He has been a strong health care advocate, pressuring for change by the Ministry of Health And Long Term Care to clean up the NHS.

On August 10, Local 199 hosted a public press conference, for the first time allowing surviving family members the opportunity to share their heartbreaking stories of loss caused directly by the C Difficile outbreak in NHS, that has to date claimed the lives of 33 people.

More than 100 concerned citizens, as well as several members of the media, listened to the heartbreaking stories regarding the outbreak.

"There were very few dry eyes in the house, as people told their personal stories, of what could have very likely been preventable deaths of their loved ones," said Gates.

"Getting a supervisor appointed is just the first step; we will have to be diligent in making sure our health care system leaves no one behind," said Gates.

All CAW members are encouraged to take part in the Ontario Health Coalition's Public Rally at Queens Park, September 13, 2011 at noon. Buses will be sent from most communities and you can contact your local coalition or visit http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/ for further information.

 

Save City Services, Defend Good Jobs

A Community Day of Action to stop cuts to city services is planned for Monday, September 26 at Toronto City Hall including plans for a rally outside the city council meeting.

Rally for Toronto! gets underway at 5:30 p.m. outside the Toronto City Council meeting. On September 26, Toronto City Council will meet to discuss the Core Service Review and the 2012 budget. Residents from across the city are asked to speak out in defence of city services and the need for good jobs in the city.

"Our message to City Hall is: build Toronto, don't destroy it. Together, we can stop the cuts, closures, privatization and user fees that will have an impact on every neighborhood in Toronto," states a rally flyer.

Email RallyforToronto@gmail.com to connect with local initiatives in your area. You can find out more at www.facebook.com/RespectToronto

Famine in East Africa - Oxfam

CAW President Ken Lewenza recently sent the following letter to CAW Local unions, urging action by September 16:

Heartbreaking images of badly malnourished children and entire families are now making their way into Canadian newspapers and television channels, as East Africa experiences one of the most devastating famines in the region ever. Two years with little rain has led to a severe and lengthy drought, decimating crops and livestock.

Families with small children are fleeing their villages on foot to far away refugee camps in the hope of accessing food and water. Millions of people are now without the basic necessities of life. More than 3 million people require immediate aid to survive.

To date, aid workers have lamented the slow pace of international donations, with need far, far outpacing basic supplies. The United Nations now estimates that the total number of people in need could rise by 25 per cent and surpass 15 million people if aid efforts are not dramatically increased.

Oxfam Canada is working with the labour movement to raise much needed funds to supply food, shelter and water sanitation support for the region. The CAW Social Justice Fund has already donated $25,000 to Oxfam's efforts. Oxfam Canada is part of the Humanitarian Coalition, a Canadian network of non-governmental organizations providing help in a time of crisis.
Your assistance can make a huge difference. Oxfam has set up an online portal for CAW members to donate. Any donation will be matched by the federal government until September 16.

The CAW has a long history of working in solidarity with Oxfam Canada, dating back to 1992 when CAW supported its Somali relief efforts. In 2003, the CAW raised over $70,000, generously donated by local unions to support Oxfam's famine relief in Ethiopia. Oxfam was able to improve water supply sources and replenish livestock that was lost in the drought. Because of this work in Ethiopia, today the area has not been as hard hit as it would have been by the current drought.

Please consider making a donation to assist with Oxfam's efforts today: http://bit.ly/qOO5Mm

Your generosity can make a huge difference in the lives of the people of East Africa.

For more information on Oxfam's efforts, please visit: http://www.oxfam.ca/

 

New CAW Ad!

 



To download a copy of our new ad, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10591.htm
or click poster

 

 

Job Forum Cancelled

A forum on The Future of Jobs in Ontario originally scheduled for September 12 at the North York Civic Centre in Toronto has been cancelled.

But for voters and activists who want to remain involved in the lead up to the Ontario provincial election there are many events and projects that highlight the need for an inclusive and progressive political agenda.

Check out the CAW's election web page at http://www.caw.ca/en/10559.htm to get information on events scheduled in your community leading up to the October 6 election.

We Must Set Our Sights Higher
A Labour Day message by CAW National President Ken Lewenza

Labour Day has always offered working Canadians a chance to step back and reflect on our collective achievements. Workplace safety rules. Decent wages and benefits. Work-life balance. Equality. Fairness. Even as a child, marching along Labour Day parade routes in Windsor with my mother and father, I've understood this day as a celebration of social progress and collective prosperity, amid the daily struggle for improved worker rights. And the progress we celebrated benefitted all working families - whether in a union or not.

There's no denying this mood has changed in past decades. The increasing hardships that workers face are turning more and more Canadians towards despair.

Today, many of the jobs on offer are unstable and insecure. Over 3 million Canadians are considered precariously employed, and rising. Employers continue to exploit outdated labour laws and in doing so have formed cracks in the foundation of our labour market and given rise to a growing field of unregulated temp jobs, short-term contract work and involuntary part-time jobs. These uncertain jobs are sprouting, like weeds, across the country.

Canada is a wealthy nation, that's for sure. Our national net worth tops $6 trillion (roughly $185,000 per capita) and rising, even as economic storm clouds loom. There's no secret these spoils are enjoyed by our most affluent citizens. In fact, real wages for millions of workers have essentially flat-lined since the mid 1970s, and the earnings gap in Canada is widening.

 

CAW National President, Ken Lewenza greets participants at the Windsor Labour Day parade on September 5, 2011

More recently with the global financial crisis, right wing politicians, business leaders and commentators, aided by the media have been extremely successful in making working people feel responsible for causing the damage. That somehow their ability to enjoy a stable retirement and earn a decent wage (even taking a vacation or two) is selfish.

Many have now lost sight of our need to build a stronger, more inclusive society. Why have we set our expectations so low it now seems not losing is the same as winning? And why have working people turned their anger inwards - buying into the perverse logic that somehow they are the enemy, instead of the power-brokers of our unfair, unsustainable, unbalanced and uncaring global economy?

Before his untimely death, federal NDP leader Jack Layton made an appeal to progressive voices in our nation, to choose love over hate, hope over fear and optimism over despair. And this touched a nerve as tens of thousands of Canadians responded en mass with messages of their own.

All Canadians should feel empowered to turn away from the negativity, fear and despair trumpeted by those who find themselves at odds with the greater good. The wealthy and business elite have convinced us to temper our ambitions, scale down our collective goals for a better world. They've told us that our desire to retire with a decent standard of living is too expensive, our plan for quality affordable child care unattainable, our strong public services unaffordable and that an end to poverty and homelessness is unrealistic.

None of this is true. It is only a matter of priorities.

This Labour Day, let's strive to do better. Let's re-set our collective priorities higher than just maintaining the status quo. Let's not shy away from demanding more - from our employers and our politicians.

As we gather for Labour Day festivities and celebrate our historical accomplishments, let's once again embrace a more creative brand of public policy and a more principled politics - those same tools that enabled us to break ground on revolutionary programs like universal health care, the nine-hour work day, workplace democracy and unemployment insurance. And let's do it for the benefit of all, not a privileged few.

As progressives, let's believe once again in the possibility of our ideas - like universal child care, national Pharmacare, electoral fairness, full employment and good jobs, improved public pensions - all of which are well within our reach if we truly commit ourselves to realizing them.

This Labour Day, workers must not only celebrate previous achievements, but set our sights on an agenda for progress to bring about the more just, fair and caring society that so many of us crave.



 

CAW Contact
August 26, 2011
Volume 41, No. 30


 

New Agreement at Bombardier Thunder Bay

CAW Local 1075 members who work at Bombardier's Thunder Bay rail car plant have overwhelmingly ratified a new collective agreement that resists concession demands, bringing an end to a three-day strike.

More than 700 Local 1075 members went on strike August 9 after talks broke down over demands for concessions on pensions. Production workers voted 94 per cent in favour of the new agreement and skilled trades 86 per cent.

CAW Area Director Tom Murphy said the strong fight back by members and the solidarity of the bargaining committee ensured that pension benefits were protected.

"If it wasn't for the determination of the committee and the support of the membership we wouldn't have been able to defeat these concessions and new hires would have been without benefits when they retired and we would have faced other rollbacks," Murphy said.

CAW Local 1075 President Dominic Pasqualino said there were many days of tough contract talks with the company, but no settlement until after the strike.

"I think this strike would have been totally unnecessary if the company had removed the concessions and brought a reasonable offer to the table a day earlier," said Pasqualino.

He thanked the membership and the bargaining committee for their enthusiastic support and hard work. "This strike has made our membership a lot stronger," Pasqualino said.

The Bombardier Thunder Bay facility manufactures bi-level rail cars, street cars and subway cars.

CAW Women's Conference Inspires and Challenges

The 2011 CAW Women's Conference, "Women, Power and Politics - the Personal Really is Political" promised to be bigger and better than ever.

More than 187 women - delegates, discussion leaders, and invited guests - from coast-to-coast-to-coast joined together at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario from August 7-10 to participate in a combination of workshops and plenary sessions, in what would become a political call to action.

The annual CAW Women's Conference was the largest ever with more than 200 delegates, family members and guests. Julie White, director of CAW Women's Programs, issued a call to renew the idea that the 'personal is political.'

Photo: Kim Crump, CAW Local 88.

Julie White, director of CAW Women's Progams, opened the conference by reminding delegates that the personal really is political.

"The personal is political' became the slogan for the women's movement in the 1970s, as women demanded equality at all levels of society - at work, in the home, and legislatively," she said. "In the decades that followed, women fought for and won important gains that signaled real progress for women in Canada. But right wing governments, both here and around the world, have been systematically eroding the gains of progressive movements, including the women's movement, making the struggles of the past our continuing challenges moving forward."

This year's conference gave delegates the opportunity to engage with women leaders and activists in the union and in the broader movement to strategize and organize around those challenges moving forward and also for the political fight ahead.

Delegates heard from keynote speaker Patty Ducharme, Executive Vice President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. She inspired delegates as she spoke of the reality of the current political landscape, challenging women to "take risks, to flex our political muscle, and to step up to the plate."

Delegates then heard from a panel of women - Mary Shortall, Canadian Labour Congress National Representative; Jenny Ahn, CAW director of Membership Mobilization and Political Action; and Andrea Calver, Ontario Child Care Coalition - as they described the federal, provincial and municipal political picture. Women heard about the many challenges ahead; the need to mobilize to protect gains already made, the need to build capacity around the upcoming provincial elections, and ultimately, to look towards the next federal election.

In an inspiring call to action following the workshops, former assistant to the CAW president, Peggy Nash, who is now NDP MP Parkdale High Park, addressed conference delegates and challenged them to use what they had learned.

Air Traffic Controllers Ratify New Agreement

CATCA CAW Local 5454 announced that its members had voted 79 per cent in favour of a contract settlement reached last month with NAV Canada. Approximately 85 per cent of the membership cast ballots.

The new contract, which runs until March 31, 2013, provides a cumulative salary increase of six per cent by April 1, 2012, besides other improvements.
Negotiations for a new agreement began last December, the tentative agreement was reached on Sunday July 24, 2011.

Union president Greg Myles thanked all who participated in the vote and expressed his satisfaction with the outcome.

"The commitment by both parties to reach a freely negotiated settlement demonstrates that outside intervention is not required nor even desirable," said Myles.

"Creativity and awareness of the labour environment
are key ingredients to quality agreements that far exceed the benefits of heavy handed government intervention in the preservation of Canada's recovering economy. We are extremely pleased that our team was able to show a better way to labour peace and productivity."

CATCA CAW Local 5454 represents Canada's 2,100 Air Traffic Controllers.

Courtland Nursing Home Workers Win Wage Increases

In a significant victory for CAW Local 302 members who work at a Courtland, Ontario nursing home owned and operated by Caressant Care, an arbitrator has awarded strong wage increases retroactive to February 2010.

Arbitrator David Starkman awarded a 2.35 per cent wage increase effective February 1, 2010 and a further 2.25 per cent wage increase retroactive to February 1, 2011. In addition he awarded an increase in shift premiums.

CAW Local 302 represents 50 full-time and part-time workers at the nursing home in Courtland, located in southwestern Ontario. The membership includes RPNs, PSWs, cooks, dietary and laundry aides and activity personnel.

CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy said "while it will always be our preference to negotiate our collective agreements I'm extremely pleased that yet again we have an arbitrator refusing to listen to the employer's nonsensical arguments around the provincial wage restraint policy addressed in Bill 16."

CAW National Representative Robert Buchanan said the award is a significant victory for this group of workers, especially given that the employer had refused to bargain after the passage of Bill 16 in Ontario, which froze wages over two years for some non union groups of provincial workers.

"Our union has never advocated resorting to interest arbitration and we shouldn't have been forced into
interest arbitration in this case, but the arbitrator has come in support of our position," said Buchanan.

"This award really does provide a significant victory for our Courtland members," said Buchanan.


CAW Will Strike Johnson Controls to Save Jobs, if Necessary

CAW Local 222 members working at the Johnson Controls auto parts facility in Whitby, Ontario have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action if a fair deal can't be reached by 12:00 a.m. on August 26. The strike vote was approved by 99 per cent of union members at a meeting on August 16.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the key sticking point in negotiations is job security. The employer notified the union that next generation work will be performed at a facility in Michigan, cutting 170 workers out of the Whitby plant. This would slash the current workforce by over half.

Lewenza said the union is working hard to find a solution that will save these jobs.

"The strong strike vote should send a clear message to the company that our members will resist this decision," Lewenza said.

The Whitby facility produces door pads and floor consoles for the Chevrolet Impala, as well as seats
for the Camaro. A strike will have an immediate impact on production at the General Motors Oshawa complex, warned Jerry Dias, CAW Assistant to the National President.

"General Motors is an important stakeholder in this dispute," Dias said. "We worked closely with GM and
their parts sector suppliers during the economic downturn to help keep production flowing, and the industry working. Now that the sector is stabilizing, we're going to ensure our members don't get left behind."

The CAW represents over 300 workers at the Whitby facility. The two sides have been in contract talks since the beginning of August.

London Unemployment Rate Prompts Emergency Summit

The CAW is urging a regional industrial strategy as well as policies to develop good jobs with stability and decent working conditions as keys to lowering the startling 9.1 per cent unemployment rate in the London, Ontario area.

CAW Local 27 President Tim Carrie stressed that the trend toward more precarious temp agency work, part-time, temporary and casual jobs is damaging not only to local workers and their families, but the entire economy.

"We need to create good jobs with stability and strong benefits that mean workers earn enough to pay a mortgage, help their children get a post-secondary education and which allow workers to retire with dignity and some financial security after a life time of work," said Carrie.

In July, the official unemployment rate for the London, Ontario area hit 9.1 per cent, a national high among large urban centres. This prompted city council to call an Emergency Summit on Jobs, attended by local politicians, business and labour officials.

Carrie said while the Emergency Summit was a good first step, the creation of a Labour Market Taskforce is needed for the long term. He's strongly urging London Mayor Joe Fontana to move ahead with support for such a taskforce.

CAW Local 1520 President Dennis McGee said the impending closure of the Ford St. Thomas plant and the closure of the Lear Seating facility will have a huge impact on the local economy.

"The Ford plant and the various feeder plants supporting it have provided good jobs for thousands of workers over many decades. We need to develop industrial strategies that will replace these manufacturing jobs and create good work opportunities for local residents."

"In the meantime both the federal and provincial governments need to expand tuition and income supports for workers who are retraining after losing their jobs through no fault of their own," McGee said.


Working Families Revamps Website

Working Families has launched a new website with print and video content aimed at educating working families in Ontario about issues important to them in the upcoming Ontario election.

The website http://www.workingfamilies.ca/ features a screening room with a series of television ads that outline numerous reasons for concern with the agenda of the Tim Hudak Ontario Progressive Conservatives. The website also includes print articles from various sources about the Hudak Conservatives.

Working Families is a not-for-profit organization which was formed more than eight years ago by members of the labour movement to encourage debate and knowledge about election issues which effect working families in Ontario. Numerous unions, including the CAW, are sponsors of Working Families.

Readers can also follow Working Families on Facebook and Twitter.

CAW Transportation Conference: September 23-25

The CAW Transportation Conference is scheduled for September 23-25 at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

The conference will include workshops and plenary sessions on various transportation issues, including political action. One of the key components of the conference will be a review and endorsement by the delegates of a National Transportation Policy for the CAW. The current policy has been in place since 1992 and needs updating.

To view the call letter please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10252.htm

Home Workers Call for Fair New Contract

CAW Local 302 members employed by Chelsey Park Nursing Home picketed outside their workplace on August 18.

The workers have been without a contract for 18 months after the company is refusing to negotiate anything but a "net zero" increase on wages or benefits. The rally was supported by other CAW members from across the region as well as nursing home residents themselves.

CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy said that the workers should not have to give up previously negotiated benefits to have a wage increase. "Let's not forget that our members are employed by a for-profit nursing home company -the idea that it should follow a flimsy government mandate about wage freezes is ridiculous and not a starting point for us. Our members deserve a fair contract for the important work that they do each day."

The home is owned and operated by Diversicare.

An Open Letter to NDP MPs and all Canadians

The CAW joins in mourning the loss of Jack Layton, and remembering his social democratic values
To see the letter please click here


 

CAW Contact
August 12, 2011
Volume 41, No. 29


 

Weak Job Market a Concern for Real Economic Recovery

The announcement of continued job growth in Canada is in stark contrast to the more deeply rooted challenges facing our national labour market, said CAW President Ken Lewenza, in response to the monthly labour force survey results released by Statistics Canada on August 5.

The national Labour Force Survey, an important monthly report card on Canada's labour market performance, estimates that Canada's economy pumped out 7,000 new jobs, building on three consecutive months of gains. The national unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.2 per cent (7.4 per cent the month prior), primarily because fewer Canadians were actively looking for work.

But it still only tells part of the story, said Lewenza. "If we want to gauge the strength of our labour market, we need to look well beyond the up and down of the monthly job numbers."

Lewenza said examining indicators like increases to temporary and contract employment, as well as wage stagnation, a reduction in hours worked, and other factors must all be a part of the total employment picture.

Lewenza likened the avid following of unemployment numbers to spectators watching a horse race, cheering for the winner.

"We can't afford to simply cheer for new jobs. We have to dig deeper to determine whether Canada's employment core is stable or is rotting away."

"In many cases, the people who I talk to are no less afraid for their jobs than they were a year ago. And those who have lost their jobs are still having a terrible time finding new ones."

CAW Sisters Raise Thousands on the Highway to Help

Members of the CAW Local 27 Women's Committee hit the road on a motorcycle ride through Southern Ontario from July 25 to 29 - dubbed the Highway to Help. The ride, which pulled in over $26,000 in donations for women's support services in Ontario, helped raise awareness around the issue of gender based violence.

CAW sisters Patty Marshall and Kim Walker, embarked on the ambitious five-day, 2000 km, motorcycle ride visiting CAW workplaces in 16 communities making stops in Ingersoll, Woodstock, Kitchener, Milton, Mississauga, Brampton, Toronto, Oshawa, Ajax, Whitby, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, St. Thomas, Windsor and London.

 

The Highway to Help motorcycle ride makes it's final stop at K's Sports Lounge & Grill in London, Ontario on July 29. (L-R) Patty Marshall; Cheryl Brown (Highway to Help support team); Jim Wilkes; Eileen Morrow, OAITH coordinator; Kim Walker; and Marie Morris (Highway to Help support team).
Photo by: Jim Kennedy CAW Local 27

Funds raised will be put towards the Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Houses (OAITH) - a group that works to educate and promote change for abused women and children afflicted by violence - and in coordination with the provincial Step it Up campaign, that's aiming to make violence against women an issue for the October 6 election.

Marshall, a lead organizer for the event, said she was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown in support of this initiative - the first of its kind for the union. Organizers had encouraged CAW members across Ontario to run individual fundraising drives in their workplaces and communities.

"The excitement and positive energy we felt from other CAW members was incredible and made the entire trip worthwhile," Marshall said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Marshall and Walker were greeted to a heroes welcome at the ride's end in London on July 29, where 75 people packed into a small sports bar to congratulate the pair. Among the crowd was CAW Local 27 Financial Secretary Jim Wilkes, CAW
Director of Women's Programs Julie White and London Mayor Joe Fontana.

"These sisters make our union proud," White said. "Their contribution to the struggle to raise awareness on gender based violence leading up to the Ontario provincial election is important work."

To learn more about the Ontario Association of Interval and Transitional Housing visit: http://www.oaith.ca/

To learn more about the Step it Up campaign visit: http://www.stepitupontario.ca/


Closure of Historic Siemens Plant Sad Day for Hamilton

The end of production at the historic Siemens gas turbine facility in Hamilton was a difficult and sad day for workers and the local community. Production ended on July 29.

"This Siemens closure marks a sad end to more than 100 years of top quality production by highly efficient, skilled and committed workers," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "This closure absolutely could have been avoided," Lewenza said.

"The provincial government has failed to ensure that its resources were fully used to maintain these important manufacturing jobs for this large group of workers, their families and the community of Hamilton," Lewenza said. "It's another example of the government's failure to act to protect jobs in the manufacturing sector."

Randy Smith, president of CAW Local 504, blasted Siemens for selling the Hamilton jobs and moving them to Charlotte, North Carolina for "millions and millions of U.S. dollars in government incentives and tax breaks."

He also said the provincial Liberal government has bought into the Samsung wind power business and given millions of tax dollars to Siemens to build wind turbine plants, "while doing nothing to protect our Hamilton jobs or to move work into our facility."

"Siemens continues to disrespect its workers by undercutting their efforts to put their severance pay in trust with the government and respect their recall rights," said Smith.

CAW Local 504 and the national union will continue fighting for 24 jobs, which will exist in the office building where up to 200 people will continue to be employed by Siemens. "We believe these jobs are covered by our hourly and salary contracts."

The closure of the Siemens plant puts 550 people out of work, including nearly 350 who are represented by CAW Local 504.

This adds to the more than 31,000 manufacturing jobs over the last seven years.


New Agreements Ratified at Ontario Lottery and Gaming

 

OLG Brantford Committee-From left to right in the photo are: Assistant to the President Bob Orr , National Representative Jim Woods Matt Smith, Ken Wight, Dan Cushenan, Dave Reston, Joyce Borman, Cary MacMillan and CAW Local 504 President Randy Smith.

CAW members working for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming commission at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Sudbury Downs and Brantford Casino overwhelmingly ratified new collective agreements on July 17.

The union represents approximately 1000 workers at three separate bargaining units in Toronto, Sudbury and Brantford, each with its own collective agreement. The three bargaining committees came together at a master bargaining table starting the last week of June and continued joint negotiations until a tentative agreement was reached on July 14.

The new deals will run for four years. Each agreement includes lump sum payouts in years one and two, followed by hourly rate increases of 2.5 per cent in years three and four. In addition, the agreement improves existing contract language that enhances seniority rights and improves working conditions. The union also negotiated an increase in the number of full-time jobs at all three locations and a new joint Women's Advocate program, among other contract gains.

Union members voted 87 per cent in favour of the new deal in Brantford, 87 per cent in Sudbury and 91 per cent in Toronto.

The strong endorsement by our members of marks a positive end to a challenging round of negotiations, said CAW Brantford Casino Chairperson Dave Reston.

"The bargaining environment in Ontario right now is challenging, and it has been for the past two or three years," Reston said. "The fact we were able to hammer out a quality agreement, with a tough employer, is a testament to the hard work of our bargaining committee and the support of our members."

The agreement makes progress on a number of important issues for union members, said CAW Local 598 President Richard Paquin.

"Not only does this deal take an important step forward in clarifying workplace protocols and procedures for our members, it's also an important step forward in our fight for greater job security and quality of life improvements, which have been long overdue," Paquin said.

At 91 per cent, ratification results were the highest ever recorded for Woodbine security workers in Toronto and that's good news for members as we look to the future, said CAW Woodbine Security Unit Chairperson Henry Kosiak.

"I'm optimistic that this contract will set the stage for a more engaged membership, and even greater contract gains down the line," Kosiak said. "Gaming workers in Ontario, and across Canada, have their own unique sets of challenges that need to be addressed. The union's proven they have the right tools to make that happen."

OLG workers in Brantford, Sudbury and Toronto are represented by CAW locals 504, 598 and 252, respectively. The union represents over 800 members at the Brantford Casino, working in various departments including slots, table games, food and beverage, cage and coin, and others, as well as 140 security workers in Toronto and 70 cage and coin cashiers, slot technicians, slot attendants, housekeepers, player services representatives and count team members in Sudbury.

 

OLG Sudbury Committee- Richard Paquin, CAW Local 598 President, Frank Marcil, Nicole Brown and Sam Schiafone

Engine Work Good News for Windsor

Block machining for Ford's 5.0 litre engine program will get underway at the Essex Engine plant later this year along with the retooling of another machining line at the Annex plant, which will add up to 80 jobs at the Windsor, Ontario site.

CAW Local 200 President Chris Taylor said it is good news, which comes as a result of the collective agreement reached with the company in 2007 that helped secure new product for the Windsor site.

"This new block machining work along with the retooling of another CNC line at the Annex plant for additional head machining, is coming to Windsor in part because our members are highly skilled, productive and flexible and will be able to adapt to the new technology required to operate the new CNC Block line," Taylor said.

"Adding these jobs is positive news for a work force and a city that has been extremely hard hit in recent years by the manufacturing crisis," he said.

CAW National President Ken Lewenza said although these 80 jobs are good news, the overall manufacturing sector continues to struggle across Canada because of the lack of government action to sustain and further build this important sector.

"Since 2002 Canada has lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs and they have not been recovered," said Lewenza. "Canada needs an action plan to reinvigorate its manufacturing sector."

New Contract at Autoliv in Tilbury

CAW Local 1941 members at Autoliv Canada in Tilbury, Ontario ratified a new three year collective agreement by 93 per cent earlier this summer.

"The new agreement provides for wage, pension and benefit improvements along with numerous language changes," said CAW National Representative Rick Garant. "This is good news for our members at this facility, the city of Tilbury and the surrounding communities."

The agreement was negotiated well ahead of its October 15 expiry date in order to allow the company to bid on potential new work. The news of new equipment is awaiting confirmation for the middle of August.

"The relationship between the company and the union has matured and all parties stand together with the common wish to maintain a critical presence in the Canadian manufacturing industry," said Paula Carson, chairperson and CAW Local 1941 president.

"Our members voted overwhelmingly to open the contract early after the plant manager attended a union meeting to answer questions regarding the intent of the request to bargain early. I've never known a Plant Manager to agree to come to a union meeting."

Carson said that it was clearly in the best interest of both parties to get an early agreement and concentrate on the business of making air bags and saving lives.

"We've done our part to educate and inform the members, they supported our recommendations and have worked hard to manufacture a very high quality product, making us the 'go to supplier." The bargaining committee, with Rick Garant, was able to negotiate a very solid agreement."

Rally to Safeguard Public Health Care in Ontario

A mass rally to protect 'public Health Care for people, and not for profit,' will be held at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, September 13 starting at 12 noon.

With the Ontario election scheduled for October 6, the rally and a march down hospital row in Toronto is an opportunity to get commitments from all political parties to safeguard health care services and improve access to care.

"In polls, health care ranks at the top of the public's agenda," states an Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) flyer. "Every political party will promise to fund and improve health care. But lip-service is not enough. Ontarians need clear commitments."

Download the poster here.

Three goals of the OHC rally include:

- Improved access to services in local communities. This includes restoring hospital beds and services to reduce ER backlogs, hospital-acquired infections and cancelled surgeries, protecting local hospitals and services from closure, addressing severe staffing shortages and improving access to primary health care;

- Comprehensive care for Ontario patients and seniors. This includes the clear right to access needed chronic, rehabilitative and long term care whether a patient is in a hospital, a long-term care home or home care;

- Equitable non-profit and public care. This includes improvements and new capacity built into non-profit agencies and institutions and an end to home care competitive bidding, user fees and for-profit health care privatization.

Several local health care coalitions in Ontario are arranging buses. CAW members are encouraged to contact their local coalition for further details. Information for local coalitions can be found at: www.web.net/ohc/localcoalitions.htm

Demonstration in Support of Budd Canada Retirees

Hundreds of CAW members and retirees picketed in front of a ThyssenKrupp facility in Oakville, Ontario on August 5, demanding that the company live up to its commitments to retirees at the former Budd Canada (TK Budd), plant in Kitchener, Ontario.

ThyssenKrupp is attempting to renege on its commitment to approximately 1,500 of the retireesby cancelling their health care benefits.

The CAW is currently engaged in a court battle with ThyssenKrupp Canada to save the post-retirement benefits of former Budd Canada workers in Kitchener.

ThyssenKrupp Budd (formerly Budd Canada) is attempting to dissolve retiree benefits through the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Among the retirees who could lose their benefits, some are in long term care homes and others are recent organ transplant recipients on life-saving anti-rejection drugs. The Kitchener facility closed in December 2008. The workers were represented by CAW Local 1451 and produced truck frames.

ThyssenKrupp is a German-based multinational corporation employing 177,000 people in 80 different countries. In 2010, ThyssenKrupp reported a gross profit of more than $8 billion (€6 billion), with a net equity of more than $14 billion (€10 billion).

CAW Supports Toronto Diversity Program Graduates

 

Graduates of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto's (CHFT) Diversity Scholarship program gathered this summer to celebrate their achievements.
The CAW is a sponsor of the CHFT's Diversity Scholarship Program. Post-secondary students who live in housing co-ops in Toronto are chosen for the scholarships based on their activities in promoting diversity and other community involvement.
Employees of the CHFT are members of CAW Local 40.

CAW Urges Support for Famine Relief Effort

CAW President Ken Lewenza is urging CAW local unions, members and staff to make a contribution to the East Africa famine relief effort.

Oxfam Canada is working with the labour movement to raise much needed funds to supply food, shelter and water sanitation support for the region. The CAW Social Justice Fund has already donated $25,000 to Oxfam's efforts.

Oxfam has set up an online portal for CAW members who want to make a donation: http://bit.ly/qOO5Mm. Any donation will be matched by the federal government until September 16.

Oxfam Canada is part of the Humanitarian Coalition, a Canadian network of non-governmental organizations providing help in times of crisis.

In an August 5 letter to CAW local unions and staff, Lewenza wrote:

"To date, aid workers have lamented the slow pace of international donations, with need far, far outpacing basic supplies. The United Nations now estimates that the total number of people in need could rise by 25 per cent and surpass 15 million people if aid efforts are not dramatically increased.

Your generosity can make a huge difference in the lives of the people of East Africa."

For more information on what you can do, please visit:
http://www.caw.ca/en/10496.htm

New Agreement at Sandvik, Ending Strike

The CAW has reached and ratified a new collective agreement with Sandvik Material Technologies on August 8 ending a more than three week long strike.

CAW Sandvik unit chair Derek Mosley said that he's pleased with what the bargaining committee was able to accomplish. "We could not have done it without the unwavering support from the membership and the support from the national union," said Mosley. "We are proud of the solidarity of our membership in fighting back concessions and holding tough until a negotiated settlement was reached."

The new three year agreement includes benefit improvements, strengthened language around lay-offs and a wage increase in the third year. The contract also maintains the existing rolling cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula, a major point of contention in the negotiations. The deal was ratified by 80 per cent.

"I'm humbled by the level of support the membership has shown in their first ever strike, in the facility's more than 30 year existence," said Harry Ghadban, CAW Eastern Ontario area director. "The bargaining committee and members were buoyed seeing so many CAW members support their efforts for a fair contract."

The CAW held a rally in support of striking Sandvik workers at the company's Canadian headquarters in Mississauga on July 26.

The 157 employees make steel tubing for the nuclear, aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas sectors. Sandvik Material Technologies is located in Arnprior, Ontario (an hour outside of Ottawa) and is part of a Swedish-owned multinational company.

CAW Connected: Sign up Now!

In a few short months, our very own CAW Connected turns two!

We launched CAW Connected on December 4, 2009 at CAW Council. Since then, we've had more than 3,200 people sign up. But we know can do even better than this. You can help.

Still a toddler, CAW Connected has a lot to accomplish before its birthday. Help us reach (and even exceed) the goal of 5,000 members before December 4. Sign up for CAW Connected today! Encourage your co-workers to sign up too! You can sign up at: http://connected.caw.ca/.

If you would like some CAW Connected sign up cards to distribute in your workplace, at a meeting or an event, please contact the CAW's Communications Department at: cawcomm@caw.ca.

What is CAW Connected?

CAW Connected is an innovative tool to keep CAW members informed about important issues and events in their communities and right across the country. CAW Connected members receive email updates on CAW campaigns and information about upcoming rallies and demonstrations.

The system itself is called a Civi Constituent Relationship Management (Civi CRM), which has the ability to organize and sort information by city, province, federal, or in some cases, provincial electoral ridings. During the last federal election, CAW Connected provided information to members in targeted ridings about candidates. Across the country, CAW Connected was used to provide campaign updates specifically for CAW Connected members.


Highway to Help riders roll in to St. Thomas

Over $14,000 raised so far on 2,000 km tour

Gary Rumbodlt with the two partricipants

A couple of sisters came to our location to collect money we donated in support of ending violence against women. The two sisters from local 27 rode to our location to collect the money.

Here is an article from the St Thomas journal.

Click here for article

 

Taking it on the chin— again! - Nortel!

Terry Miller
Brampton Guardian
August 11, 2011

Just when things couldn't get bad enough, they get worse for Nortel pensioners!

The Nortel pension plan was a retirement income plan with contributions from workers and the company. While Nortel workers kept paying into the fund, the company defaulted having made some bad investments.

Nortel couldn't keep up their end of the pension payment contribution and that and other business decisions forced the company into bankruptcy. Pensioners claim against Nortel assets came way down the line after investors, banks bond holders and suppliers.

When Nortel's pension plan went bust and benefit claims went south, workers faced uncertainty about future pension payments.
Now non-union pensioners are faced with a reduced pension of 70 percent and unionized workers are reduced to 75 percent. For some of those folks that could mean a $600 a month reduction and a pay back of over payments on benefits already received.

Recently, Nortel sold off its wireless patents to a group led by Apple for $45 billion. The proceeds from that sale will be claimed by Nortel creditors and some believe that creditors will get 100 cents on the dollar and may even make a small profit.

Nortel pensioners may not get a dime!

The average age of Nortel pensioners is 74 and the average annual pension for unionized pensioners is $12,800 and $22,500 for managerial and non-unionized. CPP will top up company pensions, but even then pensioners may only be able to keep the financial wolf from the door. Nortel pensioners won't be living out their retirement years with a great deal of certainty or financial resources.

While Nortel pensioners and others like them are bound by antiquated pension legislation, the federal government is touting the pooled registered pension plan idea (PRPP).

In the PRPP, workers invest in a low cost plan managed by a commercial financial institution. Businesses would have the choice whether to supplement employee's contributions or not. There would be no defined benefit pension package and no defined guaranteed income. Pensions would rely on investments made by a financial institution and that investment could fluctuate depending on the economy. Workers would need to be very savvy about financial markets to know what financial institution to choose from in order to protect their investment.

The federal government is not interested in expansion of the Canada Pension Plan. They are not interested in expanding the pension authority to regulate pensions and to insure that all Canadians once they reach retirement age have enough income to be secure for the future.

The CPP has mandatory deduction now and, if it were expanded, could easily become the financial institution to ensure a guaranteed annual income for pensioners.

The Harper government is not interventionist. The market is their answer to pensions and they believe that a person creates their own future without any help from the government. So expansion of CPP won't see the light of day as long as the present government refuses to recognize the reality of a growing number of people reaching retirement age and living beyond. They refuse to acknowledge that many of these people will not have a pension that can support retirement because the PRPP is not a universal plan that will be managed like CPP.

Ideology rules the day… not an understanding of the senior cohort coming on scene who may very well be destitute in their old age. So maybe it's time for the provinces to take a different tack before this becomes even more of a national disgrace.

Maybe the provinces should create their own pension plan that piggy backs on CPP. If Ontario had a pension plan that worked and was properly run, pensioners might have a fighting chance to enjoy the fruits of their labour, while they're still able.

It is time for some new thinking about pensions!

 

 

CAW CONTACT
July 28, 2011
Volume 41, No. 28

CAW President Voices Support and Concern for NDP Leader

Following NDP Leader Jack Layton's July 25 announcement that he would be temporarily stepping down as federal party leader due to health concerns, CAW President Ken Lewenza expressed his support.

"Since Jack Layton took over at the helm of the federal NDP, he has brought new energy and a truly progressive vision for what could be accomplished in politics," said Lewenza. "He is a real friend to working people and those with few riches or privileges in this country."

On behalf of the CAW's 200,000 members right across Canada, Lewenza expressed his sincere concern for Layton's health and his hope for a strong recovery in the weeks and months ahead.

"I know that Jack's characteristic fighting spirit will serve him well as he works to overcome this new challenge to his health. CAW members, like so many other Canadians, are supporting you in your battle with cancer."

Lewenza said that given the wealth of talent in the new NDP caucus, he has no doubt that the interim leader will be well-qualified to serve the party and the country. He sent his well wishes to the interim leader and the entire NDP caucus during this time.


Tentative Agreement for Canada's Air Traffic Controllers


CATCA/CAW Local 5454, representing over 2,100 air traffic controllers, has reached a new tentative agreement with NAV CANADA.

CATCA/CAW Local 5454 members provide air traffic control service to aircraft and airlines flying in Canada and the North Atlantic.

This new two-year agreement provides pay increases of three per cent each year and additional job security protections.

Members will be meeting to vote on the agreement over the next two weeks, with the results to be released in the second week of August.

"In today's federal labour relations climate, this is a great victory," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "I congratulate the bargaining team for a job well done."

CATCA/CAW Local 5454 President Greg Myles said that the committee worked very hard over the last six months to reach the agreement. "While we were not able to meet every single one of our objectives, our committee agrees that the economic package and other improvements will meet our requirements over the next two years," said Myles.

Metro Workers Ratify New Deal

CAW members working at Metro supermarkets in Ontario have ratified a new collective agreement that includes wage and benefit increases, pension improvements as well as new workplace safety language, and other gains.

The union reached a tentative settlement with Quebec-based Metro supermarkets on July 15. Ratification meetings were held across the Greater Toronto Area on July 24. The agreement was ratified by a margin of 67 per cent.

CAW Local 414 President Christine Connor considered this a "very challenging" round of negotiations, which still yielded some positive results for the members. Connor commended the hard work of the bargaining committee for negotiating a good deal.

"Metro came into these talks with a grab-bag of concessionary demands that were baseless and insulting to our members," Connor said, noting employer proposals to kill the holiday bonus, contract out bargaining unit work to supplier companies and remove department heads from the bargaining unit.

"Our committee negotiated those demands off the table, which gave us room to bargain some reasonable improvements to the agreement."

Over the life of the four-year agreement, full-time and part-time workers will receive wage increases in the form of lump sum payments (in years one and three), as well as hourly wage increases to the top end of the wage scale (in years two and four). Yearly allowances for health care and dental benefits were increased, as were future service pension credits for full-time and part-time workers.

The union also secured a commitment from the employer to conduct a joint review of policies, practices and procedures regarding workplace violence and harassment. In addition, the company agreed to review those resources available for issues related to women's advocacy.

CAW Local 414 represents 14,000 retail workers across the province of Ontario.

CAW Inks New Deal at Saputo Cheese

CAW members at Saputo Cheese in Georgetown, Ontario have voted in favour of a new three-year agreement that includes wage increases in addition to lump sum payments, work-life quality enhancements as well as pension and benefit improvements among other important workplace gains.

CAW National Representative Paulo Ribeiro said "not only did we make major gains in wages and benefits, we enhanced additional contract items like tool allowances, paid time off work, shift premiums and even increased employer contributions to the CAW Paid Education Leave program."

The union bargained 2.5 per cent wage increases in each year of the agreement, alongside signing bonuses of $750 for full-time workers, $375 for part-time workers. Employer PEL contributions doubled from 3 cents per hour to 6 cents per hour.

Saputo workers joined the CAW three years ago, after having left the Christian Labour Alliance of Canada (or CLAC) - an employer-supported organization that masquerades as a legitimate trade union. Under CLAC, the Saputo workers' severance language was substantially weakened with major concessions made to the employer - a benefit the CAW negotiating committee successfully bargained back for the members (3 weeks pay for each year of credited service to a maximum of 52 weeks).

"It's been a challenging road for our members over the past decade, with changes in company ownership as well as union representation," said Chairperson Billy Alcorn, who credits the hard work and dedication of the bargaining committee in reaching this deal. "This latest deal is a signal that we've definitely found a home in the CAW."

CAW represents 180 production and skilled trades workers at the Georgetown facility, previously owned by Neilson. The workers process dairy products, including cheese, milk, coffee cream and yogurts. They are members of CAW Local 1285.

New Agreement Ratified at Woodingford Lodge Homes

CAW Local 636 members who work at three Woodingford Lodge homes have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year agreement with solid wage and benefit increases.

Workers at homes in Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Woodstock, Ontario voted 92 per cent in favour of the new agreement on July 21. The agreement includes a six per cent wage increase over three years, an increase in weekend premiums, and gains in dental, hearing aids and the uniform allowance.

CAW National Representative Robert Buchanan said it was the tenacity of the bargaining committee and the resolve of the Woodingford membership that achieved this strong settlement.

"We went from concession based bargaining, to wage freezes, to this settlement, ratified by 92 per cent," said Buchanan. "This could only have been done with this kind of committee and this kind of support," he said.

CAW Unit Chairperson Kelly-Anne Orr said the agreement is a step in the right direction that hopefully signals a return to an environment of timely, open bargaining and the ongoing resolution of day to day issues.

CAW Local 636 represents 240 full-time and part-time workers at Woodingford Lodge.

Rally in Support of Sandvik Workers

 

More than 100 Sandvik workers and supporters demonstrated in front of the Sandvik head office in Mississauga, Ontario, calling on the company to drop demands for cuts to the cost of living adjustment and other concessions. The rally place on July 26.

CAW President Ken Lewenza assured the workers that through out their struggle, the full force of the union would be right behind them. He lambasted Sandvik for attempting to make significant cuts to the CAW's collective agreement, despite the fact that it is a profitable, multi-billion dollar corporation.

CAW Local 2228 members at Sandvik have been out on strike since July 13. Sandvik makes steel tubing for the nuclear, aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas sectors. Sandvik is a Swedish-based multinational company.

Canadian Ships Start Here - Show Your Support!

CAW members in Nova Scotia are taking part in the Canadian Ships Start Here campaign, aiming to secure long-term work at the Halifax shipyard - one of the most storied industrial complexes in Canadian history.

The Halifax shipyard is in the running to become one of two major shipbuilding providers to the federal government under its National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).

CAW/Marine Workers Federation Local 1 President Karl Risser said this designation would be a huge boon to the shipyard, its workers and the entire province.

"This program would mean upwards of $30 billion pumped into our provincial economy over the next thirty years," Risser said. "That means thousands upon thousands of new shipbuilding and spin-off jobs, tremendous opportunities for young workers through apprenticeships, job security, more vibrant communities, and much more."

This program would go a long way in helping Halifax reclaim its rightful place as the world's premier location for quality shipbuilding - a distinction that's well deserved in our community."

Irving Shipbuilding, owner of the Halifax shipyard, submitted its proposals to the federal government on July 21. The proposals, for both combat and non-combat vessels, took more than a year to complete.

The Canadian Ships Start Here campaign - a collaboration of unions, government and businesses in Nova Scotia - is calling on the public to show their support for the province's shipbuilding industry, in a variety of ways including setting up lawn signs and through social media.

CAW members from coast to coast can give their support by visiting:
http://www.canadianshipsstarthere.ca/

Long Term Care Workers Protest Layoffs in Kitchener

CAW Local 1106 members protest outside Victoria Place Retirement Residence on July 11. (L-R) Unice Riggan, Satie Bahadur, Pauline Smith and Dalila Castillo.

A small group of CAW members made some big noise in Kitchener on July 11, protesting impending staff cutbacks at a local Revera retirement home that workers say will compromise the standard of care for residents.

CAW Local 1106 Vice President Ruth Pryce told the Kitchener-Waterloo Record that the workers are "out here to send a message to the company that we're
not going to stand by and let this happen."

"Yes, it affects us, but it affects the residents more," Pryce said.

Workers held an information picket outside the Victoria Place Retirement Residence, operated by Revera.

The company had previously stated its intent to restructure staffing levels for full-time and part-time workers, resulting in layoffs as well as substantial work hour reductions and scheduling changes. The union argues the layoffs being proposed undercut workers' seniority rights and are in breach of the collective agreement. The scheduling changes - done arbitrarily in most cases - have created a greater degree of instability and insecurity for many front-line workers.

The union had previously filed a series of individual grievances and a broader policy grievance in an effort to rectify the matter. The company has so far rejected all grievances. Outstanding issues are expected to be dealt with through arbitration.

CAW Local 1106 represents 70 full-time, part-time and casual workers currently employed at the Victoria Place residence.

Proposed Registry: Not All Good for PSWs

In response to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's (MOHLTC) proposed Personal Support Worker (PSW) registry, CAW Canada submitted a brief outlining a number of concerns, particularly that the registry may be little more than a blacklist of PSWs, with nothing to allow them due process and fairness.

Announced in May, the MOHLTC committed that the registry will be up and running no later than the summer of 2012, and promised to "better recognize the work they do for Ontarians, while helping to better meet the needs of the people they care for." But it remains unclear just how this will be accomplished.

CAW National Executive Board Member and CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy believes that twin goals appear questionable.

"It has been suggested that PSWs will have to register their contact information, current employment, educational background and years of experience; far more information then even regulated health care workers are obligated to publicly disclose through their respective regulating colleges, and potentially putting them at risk for identity theft or stalking."

Also disturbing is the concern that the registry could essentially become a forum for publicly lodging potentially unfounded allegations, suspicions, and complaints.

"PSWs are entitled to a balanced and fair investigation from an employer through their collective agreement, and a registry should not have the right to circumvent this," said McMurphy

The full CAW submission can be read at: http://www.caw.ca/en/10455.htm

Closure Agreement at Woodbridge Foam in Tilbury

CAW members working at Woodbridge Foam in Tilbury, Ontario have ratified a closure agreement, covering the location's more than 170 workers.

The closure was announced unexpectedly in mid-June during a round of contract talks. The possible closure date is not yet known.

"People are frustrated and upset about losing their jobs, but our members are pleased with what we were able to achieve on their behalf for the closure arrangement," said CAW National Representative Rick Garant.

He said that although the closure package is in place as a safeguard, he and the bargaining committee have not given up on the possibility of keeping the plant open with new business. A committee has been struck with the hope of bringing new business into the facility.

CAW Local 127 plant chairperson Rick Quenneville told The Tilbury Times that he believes the closure package is a good one. "I'd prefer it was staying open, but if it's not, this is a very good package. People were very happy -not that the plant was closing -but with the plant wind-down/ closure package."

The closure agreement includes pension protection and grown-ins for those who qualify, a signing bonus, improved severance pay, funds for an adjustment centre to assist members who lose their job as a result of the closure, transfer rights to Woodbridge Foam's Kipling operation with full seniority. Should the plant re-open, workers will be
called back or re-hired according to seniority.

Workers at Woodbridge Foam manufacture seats for the auto industry.

Employee and Family Assistance Conference: Register Now!

The CAW is offering its Employee and Family Assistance (Substance Abuse) Program Conference for EFAP liaisons and those interested in becoming involved -September 16 -18 at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

The conference will include a day long workshop on non-violent crisis intervention and two half-day
workshops on teen addiction and on opiates and other substances that are commonly abused. For new delegates there will also be a one day EFAP course, one of the union's most popular introductory courses.

Be sure to register by August 19, 2011. To download the call letter, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/assets/images/EFAP_call_ltr.pdf

For any questions about the conference, please contact EFAP staff liaison Steve Watson at 1-800-268-5763 or steve.watson@caw.ca

For other information on the EFAP, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/services-departments-employee-family-assistance-program-substance-abuse.htm

CAW Education Conference

The Bi-Annual CAW Education Conference will be held at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario on October 28-30.

Watch for an upcoming call letter and more details. Keep this weekend open to attend this very important CAW Education event!

For more information contact: educate@caw.ca

 

 

UAW chief endorses
profit sharing

UAW President Bob King is pushing for building “a global middle class” to ensure long-term security for American autoworkers. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

King won't press wage increases in
order to keep Big 3 competitive

Bryce G. Hoffman/ The Detroit News
July 18, 2011

United Auto Workers President Bob King says the upcoming contract talks between his union and Detroit's Big Three can serve as a model of cooperation and compromise for a nation riven by partisan strife.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Detroit News on Friday, King said the UAW and the American automakers demonstrated in 2007 and 2009 that they could come together to save a dying industry.

Now, he said, the companies need to share their newfound profits with their workers. But King also said the UAW cannot afford to turn back the clock and make General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC uncompetitive.

Instead, King says workers need to trade wage increases for profit sharing. That would keep the automakers more competitive with the foreign automakers, and insulate them from future market declines.

"Do they want base wage increases? Of course," he said of his members. "Anybody does. But that isn't the most important priority.

"The single most important thing to our membership is long-term security. People don't want a guillotine hanging over their head. They don't want to have to worry about whether they have a job tomorrow or not, or if their pension is secure, or if their health care is secure."

All three Detroit automakers have said privately that they welcome this approach. But labor experts wonder if King can deliver the votes necessary to ratify a contract that does not roll back concessions made over the past four years and put more money in his members' pockets permanently.

"What the workers want is to know that they're not going to lose ground — that their standard of living is not going to be eroded," said Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor.

"The companies' history of profit-sharing has not been very consistent or strong. There have been many years when it was zero and one when it was just $50. That's not enough. It's going to have to be significant and reliable."

King is a very different sort of leader from his predecessor. Ron Gettelfinger was a tough-talking pragmatist who was all about jobs — protecting those that were already here and working to add more wherever possible.

King is about jobs, too, but he believes the best way to guarantee them is by thinking globally. He is an intellectual and an idealist who wants to put the UAW at the forefront of the global labor movement.

"We're committed to building a global middle class. We want to export that," King said.

"But all of my efforts internationally are aimed at protecting jobs here. It's really pragmatic. It stops the race to the bottom."

That approach makes sense, says labor expert Harley Shaiken of the University of California, Berkeley. With well below half of all cars and trucks sold in America produced by UAW members, he said the only way the union can protect its members from further job loss is by working with its counterparts overseas to raise the standard of living of their members.

"Bob's a visionary, but he's very much a tough, pragmatic visionary," said Shaiken, who said King is going further than any of his predecessors in building international solidarity.

"Bob is establishing new institutions. He's trying new things."

Relative success

But Shaiken said King runs the risk of getting out too far ahead of his members on this issue and the issue of wages.

Some say he already is.

"A lot of people feel like we need some guaranteed money," said Gary Walkowicz, a worker at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant. "People are looking to get back a lot of the things we gave up."

Walkowicz helped defeat the deal King cut with Ford in 2009, and he says he is prepared do the same thing this time around.

But King is confident he can deliver a contract that rewards workers while protecting the companies from any significant additional fixed costs. He says the past few years have taught union members just how dependent their jobs are on the automakers' success.

And King said the success GM, Ford and Chrysler now enjoy is relative. All three companies still face stiff competition from foreign competitors — including new entrants from China and India. The economy also remains weak, with auto sales in the United States and Europe well below historic highs.

"I think our members are really smart. They understand that," King said. "The hell that we went through over the past few years — nobody wants to see that repeated."

He knows that, King said, because the union has been polling its members, formally and informally, in the run-up to this year's national contract negotiations, which are due to begin next week.

"We have a good sense of what they think the priorities are," King said. "They don't want to go back into a time of insecurity."

That means keeping the companies competitive and growing, King said.

Tying rewards to success

After World War II, autoworkers shared in the prosperity of Detroit's automobile manufacturers. They negotiated gold-plated union contracts that were the envy of workers around the world.

But when automakers' profits withered in the face of foreign competition, their labor costs remained just as high.

As a result, it cost GM, Ford and Chrysler thousands of dollars more to produce vehicles in the United States than foreign-bred companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which opened their own factories in this country.

In 2007 and 2009, the UAW negotiated game-changing contracts with the three domestic automakers, all but closing the competitive cost gap. Guaranteed wage increases could widen it again if profits fall.

King believes a better way to reward workers is to create a mechanism: The more successful the auto companies are, the more their workers would be paid.

UAW members already enjoy some profit sharing, but King and the companies are discussing a richer, more complicated scheme. It would pay workers more but tie those payments to more than bottom-line earnings — adding metrics such as quality and productivity to the mix.

"It is complex. We're breaking new ground in some ways," King said.

"How do you really get membership their fair share of the upside and keep the companies viable?"

King is amenable to considering quality, because he said better vehicles will lead to better sales, which in turn will lead to more union jobs.

Other measurements may be much more difficult to sell. At least one automaker would like to make worker attendance part of the formula, too.

Of course, profit sharing will not be the only issue on the table in this year's negotiations.

King would like to see the UAW given a seat on the boards of all three companies, for example.

The union-run trusts that are responsible for retiree health care have seats on GM and Chrysler's boards. But King is talking about direct representation for the UAW itself.

German unions enjoy that privilege, and he thinks American unions should, too.

"I have a strong optimism based on the excellent leadership we have at all three companies," King said.

"All of this polarization that's happening in Washington is crazy. We've got to work together."

 

 

CAW Contact
Volume 41, No. 27
July 14, 2011


Canada's Job Market Stuck in Neutral

"Canada's job market is still stuck in neutral. It is high time the federal government acknowledge and address this fact," said CAW President Ken Lewenza in response to the Labour Force Survey results released on July 8.

Lewenza challenged the rosy labour market picture portrayed by Statistics Canada noting that the good news story of 28,400 new net jobs in the month of June is overshadowed by the fact that growth was found mostly in part-time work. Part-time work accounted for a whopping 74 per cent of new job growth last month.

Lewenza noted the overall number of unemployed actually grew by over 13,000 since May. He also noted that rising unemployment for Canadians under 25 years of age (14.3 per cent, up from 13.9 per cent the month prior) is a troubling sign that good jobs simply aren't available for one of the country's most vulnerable populations.

"Despite the Harper government's assurances that our economy is on the right track, we continue to see little hard evidence," Lewenza said, arguing that the overall quality of work is declining for the majority of Canadians - a measure that's not considered in the monthly Labour Force Survey report.

"Canadians are feeling the pinch because of declining real wages, they're finding it harder to secure a good job that offers stability and useful skill-building opportunities, and they're feeling pressure in dealing with an increasingly insecure retirement," Lewenza said. "That's what Canadian workers are saying. In my opinion, that's the more accurate read of what's going on in our economy."

Lewenza said the Harper government's plan to slash and burn Canada's public service will have a damaging effect on employment, which could have a negative effect on overall wages and hurt consumer spending.

The looming job losses in the public sector should worry everyone, Lewenza stressed.

Workers Celebrate New Bus Terminal in Oakville

CAW President Ken Lewenza joins with CAW Local 1256 President Angus MacDonald, far right, and Oakville Transit Unit chairperson Willie Lambert, left and CAW members celebrating th grand opening of the new transit bus terminal in Oakville, Ontario

The new facility is designd to attract new business opportunities while significantly improving the quality of work life for Local 1256 members in the Oakville area.

New Agreement for Nackawic, New Brunswick Mill Workers

CAW Local 219 members at AV Nackawic Inc. in Nackawic, New Brunswick have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that provides improved benefits, a Sunday shift premium, a reduced work week and wage increases.

The workers ratified the tentative agreement by 87 per cent in late June. Wage increases are 7.5 per cent by 2015, the new Sunday premium is time-and-a-half, while benefit increases include dental, vision, drug and other gains.

There is also a four-day work week from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and for a limited number of workers on a Thursday-to-Sunday shift.

CAW Local 219 President Brady Moore said this is a fair agreement which acknowledges the hard work and determination of the bargaining committee and the support of the membership as well as the assistance of the national union.

"These workers weathered some very difficult times after the former owner of the mill declared bankruptcy and closed the facility in September 2004," said Moore. "We have recovered much of what was lost in the bankruptcy and rebuilt a solid foundation for the future for the workforce, their families and the community."

CAW National Representative Chad Johnston said the membership had patiently waited for the opportunity to get back to the table and improve many of their work life issues.

After the bankruptcy workers were shocked by the drastically underfunded status of the defined benefit pension plan managed by the previous owner. They took over the shuttered mill getting widespread media attention and then guarded the mill on a 24-hour basis over seven months to ensure no assets were removed or destroyed.

Eventually a new owner from India purchased the facility converting it from a paper pulp mill to a dessolving pulp mill used in manufacturing rayon, which is used for making clothing and many other textiles. Local 219 currently represents 270 workers at the mill.

New Deal at Marshall Gowland Manor in Sarnia, Ontario

CAW members at Marshall Gowland Manor Nursing Home have overwhelmingly ratified a new collective agreement by 95 per cent.

The three year agreement includes wage increases of 2.5 per cent in each year, benefit and scheduling
improvements, as well as eliminating the lag time on sick leave eligibility.

CAW Local 302 President Nancy McMurphy said that it was the first time in a while that negotiations have not been bogged down by rhetoric about the Ontario government's Bill 16 and wage freezes for non-union workers in the public sector. "It was refreshing to have the opportunity to negotiate a collective agreement - and one of which we are very proud."

McMurphy said that in the 11 years since joining the CAW, the local union has not had one arbitrated settlement - but currently as a result of employers clinging to the non-applicable legislation, there are 20 units with their collective agreements bound up in the arbitration process (including many for-profit companies) and five more in conciliation.

"This legislation has been a disaster for health care bargaining in the province and has done a great disservice to health care workers," said McMurphy.
CAW National Representative Rick Garant said that the bargaining committee was very well versed in the issues facing members and addressed these issues with great determination. "We're very pleased with the ratification results and hope that this agreement will assist other health care units across the province."

The new agreement was reached on June 29, ratified on July 6 and covers 120 workers. Marshall Gowland Manor is owned by the County of Lambton.

New Deal at Quaker Oats in Peterborough

After three weeks of contract talks, CAW members at the Quaker Oats plant in Peterborough, Ontario have overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year deal. Workers voted 84 per cent in favour of the deal in late June.

"This is a very good deal for our members, despite a very challenging round of talks," said Jerry Dias, Assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza.

The company cited the slow economic recovery as well as increased competition in the food processing industry to limit contract gains for workers. In the end, the bargaining committee negotiated wage improvements in each year of the agreement (with some adjustments to the hire rate), pension and benefit improvements as well as other gains.

"Throughout the bargaining process, the committee was unbreakable in their resolve to hammer out a strong agreement for the members," said Plant Chairperson Rob Gerow.

The union represents 500 production and skilled trades workers at the Quaker Oats facility, owned by global food manufacturer PepsiCo. The facility produces breakfast cereals and ready-to-eats snacks.

The workers are members of CAW Local 1996.

Ornge Announces New Oshawa Base

Critical care medical transportation firm Ornge has announced that it will open a helicopter base in Oshawa, Ontario, marking an important success for the public and Ornge workers, represented by the CAW.

In October 2010, Ornge announced that its Toronto Island Billy Bishop Airport base would be moved to Hamilton International Airport, refusing to consider other options. Following the announcement, the union called for the decision to be reversed. Failing this, the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Downsview or Oshawa airports would all be better candidates for a new base than Hamilton.

The decision to move to Hamilton would have meant that an important access point to the large highly specialized hospitals downtown Toronto would be significantly changed. The CAW said that the move of the base to Hamilton could extend wait times for critical care due to heavy traffic.
The union and membership started a fight-back campaign to oppose this move due to the detrimental effect it could have on patient care to residents of southern Ontario.

The campaign included lobbying of MPPs, outreach to media agencies, and residents of the areas served by Ornge. The company informed the union in early April that an eastern base would open.

Between the proposed sites of Oshawa and Peterborough, the union believed that Oshawa was the best choice. Leadership and members lobbied all three levels of government. The union also toured the facility sites at Oshawa airport and offered a letter of support to add to the Oshawa Airport Authority's proposal.

CAW Ornge unit chairperson Chuck Telky expressed his approval of the decision and efforts that lead to it.

"I would like to thank all the members, past president of Local 2002 Leslie Dias, and Bob Chernecki, Assistant to the National President, who stood up in solidarity for what we believe to be the best interest of the residents of the province," said Telky. "This is an example of when we stand united for a cause and fight back, anything can be achieved."

CAW Local 2002 represents 200 Ornge workers.

North Bay Mayor Urges Review of Rail Car Refurbishing Contract

The Ontario government should review the full financial impact of a Metrolinx Transit decision to award a $122 million GO Transit coach refurbishment contract to a company other than Ontario Northland, says North Bay Mayor Al McDonald.

Canadian Allied Diesel in Lachine, Quebec bid $2 million lower than Ontario Northland, based in North Bay, Ontario. But Mayor McDonald in a July 4 letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the decision doesn't factor in the full financial impact to the province.

"Metrolinx did not and could not, for whatever reason, factor in revenue from the contract to reflect what the Province of Ontario would have received if the contract was awarded to the ONTC," McDonald said.

"Our numbers show that if the contract was awarded to the ONTC, it would have saved over $6.2 million in the life of the five-year contract. This does not take into account severance costs which would be over $10 million for the long-serving members of the ONTC," said McDonald.

CAW Local 103 represents workers at Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, who currently have an existing contract with GO Transit to refurbish 121 rail passenger cars.

The contract would secure 104 direct jobs at Ontario Northland and many more spin off jobs, CAW President Ken Lewenza said in an earlier letter to the Ontario Premier. The economic multiplier across Ontario would be $258 million from the contract, he said.

The CAW has joined with the broader community in North Bay and northern Ontario to demand the Metrolinx decision be reversed.

The latest voice to join the chorus of opposition was Ontario NDP MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay). Bisson urged the Premier to direct Metrolinx to suspend its proposal in a July 11 letter, arguing in favour of the positive economic impact this project would have for Ontario if kept in the province.

The provincial conservative party under Tim Hudak has yet to make any public statement or comment on the deal. Originally scheduled to be finalized on, or before, July 11, the deadline for Metrolinx to sign off on the Canadian Allied Diesel bid has since been postponed.

 

Annual ETOP Summer Conference Register Now!

The Education, Technical, Office and Professional Sector Council will be hosting its annual summer conference August 3-5. The conference will feature guest speakers on subjects of pay equity and suicide prevention and will include a State of the Union address by CAW National Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy and a closing address by CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in unit updates from right across the country. The conference is open to CAW members working in any education, technical, office or professional field and will be held at the Radisson Hotel and Suites, 855 Wellington Road South in London, Ontario.

For more information, copies of the call letter or agenda, please contact ETOP and CAW Local 555 President Matt Root at: matt.root@cawlocal555.ca

 


Ford seeks government aid to retool Ontario plant

Oakville Assembly Plant

Globe & Mail
Greg Keenan
July 14, 2011

Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. has approached Ottawa and Ontario for financial incentives to retool its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont., once again raising the issue of how willing the governments are to provide such financing in the post-auto bailout world.

The auto maker is seeking help to begin producing vehicles off a global platform (or basic underbody), a development that would enhance the security of the Oakville factory, because it would be capable of producing more vehicle types than the crossover utility vehicles it manufactures now.

The cost of the project ranges between $500-million and $1-billion, said one industry source, which would mean the request of the governments is in the range of $100-million to $200-million, based on past government programs, which have provided about 20 per cent of the total cost of a project.

But the bar has been raised by the $141-million the federal and Ontario governments are providing to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., which represents close to 30 per cent of the $545-million total investment at its Cambridge and Woodstock facilities. If the Ford project ends up costing $1-billion and it seeks 30 per cent of the total, the governments could be asked to provide as much as $300-million.

The Canadian governments are also competing against aggressive U.S. states, which are offering hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to land new auto plants. In the case of Volkswagen AG, for example, Tennessee and two other levels of government combined to offer more than $500-million (U.S.) to land a $1-billion assembly plant.

Ford spokeswoman Lauren More said company officials meet regularly with government representatives to discuss issues, including possible future investment in Oakville. "Future investment for the plant is contingent on government support," Ms. More said.

Provincial officials would not comment.

Neither Ford nor Toyota sought or received government help during the 2008-2009 recession and auto crisis when Ottawa and Ontario bailed out Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. by contributing about $13-billion (Canadian) to a U.S. government-led rescue of the largest and third-largest Detroit auto makers.

The two Canadian governments have received partial repayments of that amount and still own equity shares in Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co., the companies that emerged from the Chapter 11 filing that wiped out billions of dollars in debt.

The federal and Ontario governments each gave Ford $100-million when the auto maker rebuilt its Oakville operations to begin producing the mid-sized Edge and Lincoln MKT crossovers in 2006. That $200-million incentive was 20 per cent of the $1-billion retooling of the plant to assemble those vehicles and the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, larger crossovers that were added later.

The Edge is the no. 3 seller among Ford crossovers and sport utility vehicles. The MKX is the best-selling Lincoln crossover or SUV.

But the Edge and MKX are being redesigned and migrating to a new platform in 2013, several industry sources said, They will come off Ford's CD4 platform that will also serve as the basic underbody for the Fusion, Taurus, Mondeo, MKZ and MKS passenger cars.

Ford's strategy is to reduce the number of platforms, but produce several of what it calls top hats off each platform. Its C1 compact platform, for example, provides the base for the Ford Focus compact car, but also such derivatives as the C-Max minivan and several small crossovers.

There are questions about what Ford will do about the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT, large crossovers assembled off a different platform. They are not the hits Ford hoped they would be.

George Pipas, Ford's manager of U.S. sales analysis, said on a conference call earlier this month that it's fair to say that MKT sales have been disappointing. Sales of MKT slumped 37 per cent in the first six months of the year in the U.S. market. Flex sales tumbled 30 per cent.

Ford agreed in contract talks with the Canadian Auto Workers union in 2009 to allocatea new generation of products to the Oakville plant based on a new global vehicle platform.

The company also agreed to add a third shift of workers to the Oakville plant when market conditions permit, but the slow sales of the Flex and MKT have so far kept Ford from doing that.

 

 

Hatchback models opening
new door with U.S. buyers

After unexpected demand for its Fiesta hatchback, Ford now expects 50 percent of buyers of its new 2012 Focus to choose the five-door. (Ford)

Models gain despite traditional stigma

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News
July 12, 2011

Ford Motor Co. is finding Americans do like hatchbacks — at least in small cars.

About half of the retail sales of Ford Fiestas are hatchback models, and so are 41 percent of retail sales of the new 2012 Ford Focus, which has been on the market only a few months.

Buyers are plunking down large deposits and ordering high trim levels and many features, said Robert Parker, Ford's group marketing manager.

"Between the fuel economy, the technology we're putting in the vehicles and the flexibility a five-door offers, we're seeing a lot more interest in our products," Parker said Monday.

Hatchbacks traditionally have been popular in Canada and Europe, but have not resonated well with American consumers. That appears to be changing. Data from WardsAuto.com shows the number of hatchbacks sold in the U.S. increased by 63 percent for the 2006-10 model years, from 291,853 to 475,048. Total car sales fell 23 percent in that period.

Europeans and Canadians, with less disposable income, often had a small car as the family vehicle. A hatchback offered more cargo space for the money. In the U.S., however, hatchbacks became synonymous with cheap cars, small engines and boring design.

"The hatch was the vehicle for college kids with no money; and they were usually ugly," said analyst Dave Sullivan of AutoPacific Inc. in Ann Arbor. But "the hatch stigma is disappearing," he said. Today they have "European flair and a lot of utility and good gas mileage."

"American car buyers have become appreciative of the convenience and flexibility that hatchback body styles offer after years of owning SUVs and crossovers," said Ford sales analyst George Pipas.

Sullivan argues that in reality, crossover drivers are driving hatchbacks — they just aren't calling it that.

Ford initially expected about 40 percent of Fiesta buyers would choose the five-door, but it has been trending as high as 60 percent and could end the year that way, Parker said. The unexpectedly high demand for the Fiesta hatch, he said, led Ford to adjust its sales projections for the Focus. The expectation now is a 50-50 split between the two body styles.

General Motors Co. offers a Chevrolet Cruze hatch in Europe, but didn't think there was enough demand to offer it here. Sullivan wonders whether GM could sell 30 percent more Cruzes if it offered a hatchback.

Chrysler Group LLC offers a compact hatch, the Dodge Caliber, but its sales paled compared with its predecessor, the Neon sedan. The replacement for the Caliber, due early next year, will be a Dodge sedan.

Ford plans to add the Focus ST performance hatch to its U.S. lineup next year.

 

Ford Canada Posts Best June in 22 Years

July 8, 2011

OAKVILLE – Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited saw sales increase six per cent compared to last June, marking the best June sales since 1989. Demand for Ford's fuel-efficient lineup helped to drive car sales up 32 per cent. Key sellers included: Focus, Fusion, Taurus and Mustang which all saw sales increase 12 percent, 9 percent, 19 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Furthermore, the all-new Fiesta and award-winning Fusion both had best-selling sales months ever. With 140,377 units sold, Ford of Canada is the number one selling automaker for the month and year-to-date.

"After some uncertainty in May, we experienced a nice uptick in showroom traffic in June," said David Mondragon, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. "Our investment in smaller more fuel efficient vehicles is clearly paying off as consumers continue to look for great fuel economy."

Also driving strong sales results is the newly reinvented 2011 Ford Explorer which saw sales increase 85 per cent compared to last June. In fact, all June Explorer sales were 2011 model year vehicles. With 4,439 units of 2011 Explorers sold to date, Ford has more than doubled last year's full-year sales total of 2,043 units of 2010 4-door Explorers – an increase of 217%, in the first six months of 2011.

"We are seeing a stronger industry in June," said Mondragon. "In fact, the Canadian market may come in stronger for 2011 than first forecasted."


June Sales


 

CAW Contact June 30, 2011

CAW Local 2002 Members Overwhelmingly Approve New Agreement at Air Canada

CAW Local 2002 members at Air Canada have voted 87.7 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the new agreement was achieved after weeks of tough bargaining on many difficult issues, which included company demands for significant concessions and cuts to the pension plan.

"The great spirit of our membership and the fight back they launched across the country helped ensure this strong agreement was negotiated and overwhelmingly ratified," Lewenza said. "The solidarity of our leadership and members as well as the support of IAM, CUPE and union members from across the broader labour movement was critical to reaching a solid negotiated settlement."

Lewenza blasted the Harper government for indicating within 16 hours of the strike starting that it would intervene to end it with back-to-work legislation. "The Harper Conservatives' intervention into these talks was heavy handed and only made bargaining even more difficult."

"This was an unprecedented intrusion into free collective bargaining," Lewenza said.

The new agreement provides wage increases of nine per cent over four years. It also re-establishes a 30-minute paid lunch break, secures work at Jazz and provides many other improvements.

The key elements of the pension plan remain in place. The only adjustment occurs in January 2013 in the early retirement provisions of the agreement.

The issue of pension benefits for new hires will be sent to a mediation process and then failing a resolve, will be sent to a jointly chosen arbitrator.

CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross said she is "proud of the confidence the membership has shown our bargaining team by ratifying this new collective agreement."

"It is also clear that the company and current federal government have to recognize the resolve of our members to be treated respectfully and dealt with fairly," Ross said.

Paul Janssen, Chair of the Master Bargaining Committee, said "the committee is delighted we were able to achieve well deserved gains for our membership. We have had a tremendous challenge in the last few years, and our membership has finally achieved a solid collective agreement."

"Our membership at Air Canada showed tremendous courage in giving a strong strike mandate and showing true solidarity on the picket lines across the country," Janssen said.

The CAW represents 3,800 members who are customer service and sales agents at Air Canada. They voted on the tentative agreement at a series of ratification meetings over the last seven days.

Rally to Stop Closure of Maritime Rescue Centre in St. John's

FFAW/CAW members, alongside other community and union supporters, held a mass public rally Saturday June 25 to protest federal government plans to close a maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's, Newfoundland.

For years, the centre has provided critical, split-second coordination of search and rescue resources and support for those distressed at sea, including fishers and other workers. The federal government's proposal would consolidate coordination centre operations in St. John's with those in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The move is part of a multi-million dollar budget cut levied by the Harper government on the federal fisheries department. Estimates for the closure of the coordination centre are pegged at $1 million.

FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy, who represents thousands of fishers across Newfoundland and Labrador, called the move "unconscionable."

"Saving lives is more important than saving money," McCurdy said. "I just wish our Prime Minister understood that."

McCurdy said the province has seen its share of tragedies at sea and that steps need to be taken to improve safety, not water it down.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said this decision is just another example of how Canadians, from coast to coast, will pay the price of the Harper government's wrong-headed and poorly conceived budget cuts.

"This latest decision goes to show how the Harper

Conservatives won't bother to consider what's in the best interest of Canadians, even in matters of life or death."

 

FFAW/CAW President Earle McCurdy addresses more than 4000 participants at a mass public rally in support of maintaining the maritime rescue centre in St, John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo by Tina Pretty

CAW Urges GO Transit Refurbishing Contract for Ontario Northland

The CAW along with North Bay's mayor, city staff, Ontario Northland management and local Chamber of Commerce officials are joining together to urge the province to overturn the awarding of a major GO Transit contract to a Quebec-based firm.

The province awarded a $122 million GO Transit coach refurbishment contract to Canadian Allied Diesel in Lachine, Quebec. Their bid was $2 million lower than Ontario Northland, which has an existing contract with GO Transit to refurbish 121 rail passenger cars.

CAW Local 103 President Brian Kelly, whose members work at Ontario Northland, said the tax revenue the new contract could generate in Ontario far outweighs the $2 million difference in the two bids.

"The province cannot ignore the $7.5 million that would flow back to them through taxes should the work and jobs remain within Ontario," said Kelly, who attended a meeting June 28 of key stakeholders in North Bay. "Taking this into consideration that puts the Ontario Northland bid $5 million better than the lowest bid. We are calling on the provincial government to review this decision through the lens of the greater good of Ontario and ensure the good jobs remain here," Kelly said.

On June 28 CAW President Ken Lewenza sent a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty expressing frustration with the awarding of the Metrolinx contract to an out-of-province facility.

Lewenza said the contract would secure 104 jobs in Northeastern Ontario and the $34 million spent on direct wages would provide a $7.5 million return in tax revenue to the province.

"In Northeastern Ontario the direct and indirect wages would be $50 million over the life of the contract," Lewenza said. "The overall benefit is even greater as the $122 million spent in the local economy and across the province would have an economic multiplier suggesting a total impact for Ontario of $258 million."

Lewenza stressed that the overall benefit of retaining the work at Ontario Northland far out weighs having the work leave the province.

"On behalf of the workers and their families at Ontario Northland, I am requesting your government immediately reverse this decision," said Lewenza, who also requested a meeting with the Premier.

CAW Transportation Conference Reminder

The CAW Transportation Conference is scheduled for September 23-to-25 at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.

The conference will include workshops and plenary sessions for CAW members who work in the transportation sector, both in manufacturing and the operation of transportation vehicles.

One of the key components of the conference will be a review and endorsement by delegates of a national transportation policy for CAW, which will then be moved to the NEB and CAW Council for final endorsement.

The deadline for conference registration is August 22. To read the conference call letter please type this address in your browser:

http://www.caw.ca/en/10252.htm


 

Ford's Fields says June
sales could best May's

Mark Fields - Ford Motor Company

Alisa Priddle/ The Detroit News

June 22, 2011

Dearborn— June sales of new cars and trucks in the United States should be as strong, or better, than they were in May, said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. president of the Americas.

May sales came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 11.8 million.

Fields said today that Ford's retail sales should be up when June figures come out, based on sales so far this month.

The Lincoln brand should also show strong results, he said on the sidelines of an event here.

As for quality issues at the automaker, which has received some negative reviews for its MyFordTouch and Sync technology that some consumers have found difficult to operate, Fields said the automaker is "largely back on track."

He reiterated comments from earlier this year that quality in North America continues to be "mixed" and said he welcomes feedback from Consumers Reports — which criticized the infotainment system — and other sources.

Fields said he does not know the results of the J.D. Power and Associates IQS study to be released Thursday.

But a positive offshoot of some of the quality issues is Ford is jumping on issues as soon as they are identified, Fields said.

That includes improvements to the Sync software and offering customers training sessions on how to use the infotainment system.

Customers will continue to have phone conversations and multitask in their cars, and Ford is working to ensure they can do with as little distraction as possible, Fields said, citing MyFordTouch as a popular feature among Ford customers.

 

GOVERNMENT
BENEFITS 2011

as of January 1, 2011

Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan

CPP

QPP

            1. Contribution Rate 

4.95%

4.95%

            2. Year’s maximum pensionable earnings (YMPE)

$48,300.00

$48,300.00

            3. Basic exemption

$3,500.00

$3,500.00

4.      Maximum premiums for employees
Maximum premiums for self-employed

$2,217.60
$4,435.20

$2,217.60
$4,435.20

            5. Retirement Benefits (maximum for new recipient)

$960.00

$960.00

            6. Lump Sum Death Benefit (max.)

$2,500.00

$2,500.00

            7. Disability (max.)

$1,153.37

$1,153.34

            8. Dependent children’s benefit

$218.50

$69.38

            9. Surviving spouse 65 and over (max.)

$576.00

$576.00

            10. Surviving spouse under 65 (max.)
                  Surviving spouse 45-64 (max.)
                  Surviving spouse under 45 (max.) - not disabled, no child
                                                                    - not disabled, with child
                                                                    - disabled

$529.09
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

N/A
$433.34
$110.98
$402.35
$433.34

Unemployment Insurance (E.I.)

Canada
(excl. Quebec)

Quebec

          1. Annual insurable earnings (max.)

$44,200.00

$44,200.00

          2. Premiums – annual maximum (employee)
               Premiums – annual maximum (employer)

$786.76
$1,101.46

$623.22
$872.51

          3. Benefits – weekly maximum (55% of insurable earnings)

$468.00

$468.00

Old Age Security (effective January 1, 2011–adjusted quarterly)

Maximum Monthly

          1. Old Age Security

$524.23
$661.69
$961.18
$1,065.45

          2. Guaranteed Income Supplement

          3. Spouse’s allowance (Age 60-64)

          4. Widowed spouse’s allowance (Age 60-64)