A press conference at 4 P.M. will serve as a sort of half-time update to the looming CAW strike deadline, set for 11:59 P.M. today – but CAW President Ken Lewenza told the CBC that
“We do not have a deal as of right now but … we’re picking away and we are darn close to a deal,”
A deal with Chrysler and General Motors seems no further in sight at this point, but a report in the Toronto Star claimed that the CAW was open to keeping talks going past the deadline. Lewenza told the Star that Ford’s position was
“Ford isn’t philosophically opposed to anything other than to say, ‘Folks, keep your costs down, keep it manageable, and (then) we can share in the success with the company together.”
From this vantage point, that seems like a classic case of “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” The Ford party line isn’t too far off from what Sergio Marchionne has tried to get across, albeit in his usual blunt style. A strike would likely hit Chrysler much harder than Ford – an estimated 25 percent of the company’s global production comes from Canadian plants, but Ford only relies on Canada for about 5 to 6 percent of its volume. Chrysler is also a strong seller in Canada, with the Ram pickup and Dodge Grand Caravan ranking highly in the Canadian sales race. Updates to come as the press conference gets underway.