Tough Talk From The CAW

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) may be caught between the proverbial rock and hard place when their contract comes up for renewal next year. On one hand, tough-talking union prez Buzz Hargrove says "we're not going down [the] road" of UAW-style concessions." He's also assured his 37.5k CAW members that a two-tier wage system and concessions are "non-starters." On the other hand, if the CAW hangs tough, they could create a significant Canada – US "wage gap." Analyst Dennis DesRosiers says if the status remains quo, there'll be a $25 dollar per hour differential. The Big 2.8 would then be tempted to send production back south or to overseas locations. With the pressures of the much larger UAW agreeing to a two-tier wage system and the threat of lost jobs, Buzz may have to tone down his rhetoric and behave in a diplomatic manner– as unaccustomed to that 'tude as he may be.

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  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 02, 2007

    Glenn 126 You may will be the resident historian,but I need to set the record straight. The Pontiac all models are my passion.First off before the auto pact the Canadian full size Pontiac was an American Pontiac with a Chevy power train and frame.We never imported or sold an American Pontiac in Canada V8 or otherwise untill about the mid 80s. I worked on the Chev line for 17 yrs building Chevs American and Canadian.The Chev other than a few emision gadgets,basicaly the same car.The Pontiac was two different cars.The U.S Pontiac was more like an Olds,and the Canadian was still a Chev.For 10 yrs or so we run them down the same line. 305 small blocks 301 pontiacs, 400 pontiacs 3.8 chevs and 3.8 buicks all went into the full size Pontiac.We ran 350s and we even put a stove bolt 6 in some of the exports.And just to make interesting in the early 80s we had the much maligned [rightfully so]diesels It was an adapted 350 rocket gas olds engine, with lag bolts sort of holding the heads on.This was not one of GMs finest moments.Nuff said! As a production group leader at that time, to this day I have nightmares of trying to figure out the plumbing and hose routing of the different engines and configurations. The auto pact was a fairly simple agreement.For every vehicle GM sold in Canada ,GM could ship one to the US. It was,for its time a perfect a set up.In Canada we enjoyed years and years of prosperity,while building cars for the US market I'm sincere when I say God bless America! Since that time the world has changed NAFTA, come along the Canadian Pontiac is dead Toyota leads the pack with blandmobiles. The once mighty UAW has gagged down concessions I believe market share is somewhere around 23%.The loonie is at par. Up till now Canada has been almost immune to the devastation and the downturn in the domestic auto industry I fear that our days of bliss are behind us. Now old Buzz,while I don't allways agree with him.his heart is in the right place. Ontario needs the domestic car industry for its very survival and Buzz knows this.Ontario folks that want to jump all over Buzz and his every comment[and with all due respect to our US friends] just take a drive down to Michigan.Have a good look around cause if something don't change real quick we aint too far behind.

  • AGR AGR on Oct 03, 2007

    The Auto Pack used to work: 1 built in Canada for 1 built in US, the reconcilition was usually done in July or August and manufacturers would conveniently stall trainloads of vehicles to balance the books, and start over again for a new year. When the US had Pontiac Catalinas - Ventura - Bonneville with the Pontiac specific 389, Canada had the same bodies on a Chevrolet frame, assembled in Ste.Therese many years ago. Canadian Pontiacs always looked a little dorky, from 1959 onward the US cars were Wide Track, and the Canadian Strato Chief - Laurentian - Parisienne was a Chev - narrow track. This goes back to when GM had brand specific engines in each car line, Pontiacs had Pontiac engines, Chevrolet had Chevrolet engines, and so on....later GM resorted to "corporate engines" which meant that they could shove any motor in any car. By the mid senventies there was a Canadian Pontiac, and Pontiac Grand Ville which was an American car. In 1972 the Canadian Lemans was a Chevelle, with the exception of the GTO, if one ordered a Lemans with the GTO "endura bumper", the car was assembled in the US with an American Pontiac 350, not a Chev small block. You could always get American Pontiacs in Canada, it usually helped to know the right dealer with the right contacts to source an American Pontiac, like an off beat Catalina Station Wagon with a 421 and a 4 speed.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Oct 03, 2007
    "The Constitution of the United States indicates very clearly that the Dollar IS the equivalent of an ounce of silver OR the gold equivalent; it also indicates that such COIN (money) is the only means of cross-border (i.e. between the states) monetary transaction AND it specifies that ONLY the United States Congress may coin (produce) money for use within these United States." Section 8 of the constitution says that the federal government is empowered to (amongst other things): " ... coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;" Section 10 of the constitution lays out certain restrictions against the individual states as these matters are for the federal government. This includes: "No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility." Other than that, the constitution has little to say about money be it paper, coin, gold, silver or tradeable securities. There is no fixed ratio of dollars to silver mentioned anywhere. There is no restriction on the means of settlement of cross-border transactions. Congress is empowered to pass laws providing for the regulation of the value of money, but is not restricted in how it accomplishes that task. I'm a big believer in the notion that in many ways the federal government runs amok, but glenn126 is asserting as fact things which cannot be found in the document in question. You can have a look at the text of the US Constitution here:
  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Oct 04, 2007

    don't forget to point out that with the weakened dollar, Canadian labor isn't as attractive as it once was.