A report by Reuters suggests that the Canadian Auto Worker’s union may take the unprecedented step of striking at the plants of all three domestic automakers.
Traditionally, the union targets one company for bargaining and a possible strike, and that sets the precedent for contracts with the other two. This round of negotiations has been particularly tense; labor costs in Canada are considered to be the highest in the world, and auto makers are looking to bring them down to the level offered in the United States.
Reuters sums up the matter, stating
The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) said strike committees will be formed by local unions at Ford of Canada, General Motors of Canada and Chrysler Canada this week, ahead of the union’s strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. eastern (0359 GMT) on September 17.
“It is our hope and intention to reach an agreement with at least one of the three companies before the deadline,” the union said in a leaflet distributed to members. “We must be prepared, though, to shut down operations at all three, should we be unable to reach an agreement.”
The unions are demanding that no more concessions be made on their end, in light of their sacrifices made during the bailout period contract negotiations. Compromises, such as profit sharing, have been floated by the auto makers, but only recently has the CAW changed their hardline stance against it.
TTAC readers with experience working in auto plants have suggested that a strike won’t happen, and that negotiations will eventually lead to an equitable settlement. It’s likely that talk of a strike at all three automakers is simply rhetoric in the run-up to more intense negotiations.
Reuters quotes Gary Beck, chairman of the CAW’s Ford master bargaining committee as stating
“We have been sitting down with all three companies, and no one has taken the initiative to lead,” he said. “This will, hopefully, wake them up.”
In our eyes, that’s a fairly strong piece of evidence to support the above theory.