UAW Strike To Shut Down Canadian Production

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
uaw strike to shut down canadian production

While the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) haven't greeted the United Auto Workers (UAW) action against GM with a sympathy strike, their plants are just hours away from shut down. Speaking to CBCNews, CAW union president Buzz Hargrove asserts that "by the end of this week we could have anywhere between 80,000 and 100,000 people unemployed." Hargrove said a lack of parts will starve GM's Oshawa plants assembling Impalas, Grand Prix and LaCrosses/Allures by the end of the day shift today. The truck plant had enough parts on hand to keep running about three days. Needless to say, Buzz lays the blame for the UAW strike at GM management's feet. "GM is going to try to make the UAW members and their families and communities pay [for the] troubles they're experiencing because of imports and the transplant production that doesn't make the same commitment in terms of investment and jobs in Canada and the U.S." Based on what Buzz has heard from UAW president Gettelfinger, Hargrove predicts "this thing's going to drag on for a while." The CAW starts its own contract negotiations with GM next year. Depending.

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  • AGR AGR on Sep 25, 2007

    Mark, thanks for the correction what was I thinking with Pack? The CAW just got violently sideswiped by the UAW, Buzz is showing solidarity in public, you have to wonder what he is saying in private. Health care is not a burning issue in Canada or for the CAW. The strike is disruptive for southern Ontario.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Sep 25, 2007

    Another consequence of the strike is that it is hitting at least some of the GM parts distribution centers. I wonder if that means that any special order dealer parts are suddenly hard or impossible to get? Does GM allow it's dealers to buy third party parts as needed to keep going when the parts supply chain dries up? How about for warranty work? If this goes on a long time the headaches will just keep growing. As interdependent as modern manufacturing is I would bet that most of GM's North American manufacturing will grind to a halt if the UAW stays out on strike, including the Mexican and Canadian assembly sites. It wouldn't surprise me if the European and Asian plants were affected as well. GM powertrain sources and supplies engines and transmissions on a global basis. I'm sure that GM's white collar workers are probably doing what they can to get around the strike as much as possible, but there probably isn't an easy way out for most of the situations. Look at the hit that the Japanese took a short time ago when one supplier factory was taken off line by an earthquake. That supplier is the #1 maker of piston rings in Japan and it threw a wrench into everyone's work for weeks. That was just one factory. The big question is whether or not GM is prepared to do like Caterpillar did in the early 90s when that company basically broke the UAW's back. The question is, is GM playing to win this one? There is much on the web about the Cat strike, like this:

  • AGR AGR on Sep 25, 2007

    GM Canada is not on strike, the CAW is not on strike, they shut down most of the operations for lack of parts which come from the US which is on strike.

  • Rtx Rtx on Sep 25, 2007

    I was watching the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario empty out today and it looked like a high school/college campus at days end judging by the average age of the workers. There is part of the problem ......the UAW/CAW has a SENIOR work force. More time off, more prone to injury and sickness and focused not on the long term viability of the company but on their pensions and benefit package and the amount of severance that each will receive if/when their plant closes. The UAW even allows retirees to vote on their union execs.! You know what the retirees focus will be and who they will elect! The workers at Toyota have no union representation and deal with a lot more crap on a daily basis then their non-union counterparts. A recent change at Toyota has seen the starting wage drop from 85% of full rate to 75%. It will now take new employees at Toyota 44 months to achieve their full rate of pay. On top of this a new employee at Toyota will work on a 3 month renewing contract basis for 2 to 2 1/2 years before being offered full time employment. A full 30% of Toyota workers are contract workers and the company wants to increase this to 50%. The contract worker is expendable and is sent home if there is not enough work for him/her to keep busy. He/she has no voice within the company and the contract will not be renewed if the employee is seen to to have a problem with attitude, performance, or attendance. They are under the gun until full time employment is offered. In this way Toyota can live up to their claim as the company who has not laid off an employee since 1955. Since contract workers are not considered employees they act as a buffer to those lucky enough to have full time employee status. At the end of the day the Toyota employees have a job and a steady paycheck for now. Most of the employees at Toyota realize that it is the unions who have set the high rate of pay in the auto industry but the CAW has failed in several attempts to organize the plant. Part of the failure of the CAW to organize Toyota lands right in the lap of their spokesman Buzz Hargrove. Even though the cars are almost 100% made in North America Buzz insists on referring to Toyota vehicles and the company as "foreign competition". The feeling within the plant is that Toyota would become the number one strike target if the unions should ever get their foot in the door. Also the argument that Japan has no North American dealerships doesn't hold water. The roads in Japan would never allow most of GM's high dollar SUV's and mega trucks. The small cars that the big 3 produce (small GM's are made in Korea) are inferior to even the worst Japanese product and the Japanese would never buy them even if they were available. I wish the unions all the best but I really have to wonder at a system which would allow a pension fund to be underfunded by over 50 billion dollars which is twice the market cap of the company! Hope this one works out but I think the trough is almost empty.