CAW Betrayed by GM, but Who's Really to Blame?

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

As you can imagine, GM's decision to close their Oshawa truck assembly plant in Ontario, Canada doesn't set well with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW). "It's nothing short of betrayal," CAW Oshawa branch president Chris Buckley told Reuters. "General Motors is going to produce our truck in Mexico and the United States. That's absolutely disgusting." If he's looking for the real betrayal, he should think back to the contract negotiations in May, when CAW president Buzz Hargrove took a hard line stance against contract concessions, making Canada the most expensive place in North America to assemble cars. Or recall Buzz' statement that "It's my last set of negotiations and my legacy is not going to be that the sons and daughters of current workers that were hired over 20 years ago are going to come in at the same rate in 2008 as their parents did in '86 or '87." It now looks like Buzz' legacy will be unemployed sons and daughters of current workers thanks to his inflexibility driving production out of Canada and back to the lower-paid hands of the UAW and Mexican auto workers. Just sayin'.

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  • MikeInCanada MikeInCanada on Jun 03, 2008
    Re: George Labrador I agree, not just from an ethical perspective, but a bottom line business case view as well - You have to negotiate in good faith if you ever want to effectively manage and work with the majority of the workforce. Unfortunately, both sides take that perspective with a grain of salt. Yes, GM more then likely knew that there would be structural changes forthcoming and they should have 'mentioned' it. On the side, in the US, after signing a master-national contract the UAW has (is) proceeding with local strike actions; all in an attempt to obtain benefits that were not agreded upon earlier. Bottom line: Both sides are responsible for the predicament that they find themselves in today.
  • George Labrador George Labrador on Jun 03, 2008

    Well the CAW can take GM Canada to Court,but as this company has still not settled the Gasket problems with the defective V6 Engines here in Canada, which they have settled in the USA, I dont hold much hope of anyone getting money out of a Stone cold Company that has no regard to Collective agreements or anything else for that matter. Lets face it GM Canada today, Ford and the other Company operating here could be next, these are foreign Companies with no regard for laws here in this Country of Canada, they will do what they want period!

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Jun 03, 2008

    Why is this a surprise to anyone? GM is hemorraging sales like crazy. Forget moving manu to Mexico, try building *anything* if this keeps up! They just don't have a product mix for survival right now. Anybody that's making a truck, SUV or large car in N/A and has had no announcement for product revamp better start job hunting.

  • Bdjlo Bdjlo on Jun 05, 2008

    This is nothing yet. Wait till cars start coming from China or India. It was about time this was going to happen These jobs that get paid $80000 - $90000/year are no different than what people out there work for $19000 - $25000/year. (or $2000 - $2500 in other countries) They always want more money in the contracts Well, You can want, but you are out of luck. These workers deserve to be out of work and go back to work for 9 bucks an hour. Moral: Don't be greedy.