By on August 30, 2012


The CAW may abandon their tactic of using negotiations with one automaker as a precedent for other negotiations, and conduct simultaneous talks with Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

The CAW is holding separate talks with the Big Three automakers in Toronto, and the union is staying mum about a possible “target automaker”, in the apparent hopes that the simultaneous talks are successful. The CAW’s contract expires at 11:59 P.M. on September 17th, and CAW President Ken Lewenza told Reuters that any decision regarding a target company would come at least five days beforehand.

The new tactic isn’t entirely unheard of; the UAW used the simultaneous negotiations move in 2009, though they ultimately settled on GM as their target. Given the incredible tough climate for both the CAW and the automakers, this could be a way for both of them to reach a compromise while mutually saving face. All three automakers are looking to reduce labor costs, while the CAW, at least publicly, is dead set against concessions on the part of the workers.

Speaking to the Windsor Star, Lewenza said that

“If I have it my way, I won’t have to announce a target company…If one of the companies will signal that we can get a deal, if we can get the framework of a deal in the next 10 days and I share that framework with the other companies, there won’t be a need for a target company,” he said.

Given Lewenza’s recent tone (which may be understandably firmer in the run-up to negotiations) this seems fairly pragmatic. And how about this nugget, also reports by the Star

If the companies “agree that workers are entitled to share in their success in a modest way, we can get a deal,” said Lewenza.

What does that mean? An open door for profit sharing…?

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7 Comments on “CAW May Try New Tactic Of Simultaneous Talks With Automakers...”

  • avatar

    Derek…I think you have a pretty good grasp on the situation. Yes, Lewenza has to “save face”.
    Selling profit sharing to the rank and file, is going to require a lump sum up front.

    Other than the few radicals out there, I don’t see anybody itching for a strike.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    If the CAN$ were worth about US$0.80, the CAW’s threats would have far more credibility.

  • avatar

    If the workers want to share in their success, let them buy stock! Give them ESOPs or pay their bonuses with stock.

    Let’s see how amenable they are to that.

  • avatar

    The workers via the union already own a chunk of stock. Hell, they’re on the board as well.

    Lewenza is trying to save face but the reality is that there is NO big 3 anymore. Each has become more different than alike. Even if one gave serious concessions the other two would go, “So?” You might as well deal with each simultaenously. Shortens the pain, anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      Yup, and in the end they’ll walk away with less than what they have now and learn to like it.

      Since GM and Chrysler went belly-up in 2009, then the subsequent bailouts and unceremonious dumping of Chrysler on Fiat with an overt bribe of $1.3B, things have changed in the collective bargaining game. They’d better tread lightly.

      We really need to see more outsourcing to Mexico. And we’re seeing that already but maybe these simultaneous negotiations will speed things up.

      The manufacturers got to go where they can make money. They owe that to their shareholders!

    • 0 avatar

      @Dimwit…got to correct you on one point. The UAW owns GM shares via thier VEBA fund.

      The CAW, made no such deal. The Canadain and Ontario government hold around 9 percent, I think.

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