By on September 13, 2012

With the CAW’s strike deadline just four days away, the union has apparently tabled a proposal to reduce wages for new hires, a move that would stop short of a true two-tier wage system, but meet a major demand of the Big Three auto makers.

According to The Globe and Mail, New hires at CAW plants currently start at a lower wage for the first six years of their career. The new proposal would extend that period to 10 years, though it wouldn’t implement a permanent two-tier system, such as the one adopted by the UAW.

Auto makers have been demanding that the labor costs for the CAW and UAW reach parity, while the CAW cites a higher cost of living as one of the main factors for the wage discrepancy. While CAW President Ken Lewenza has adamantly opposed a permanent two-tier system, the compromise is a positive sign that averting a strike is in the interests of both parties.

Furthermore, a compromise that impacts new hires, rather than the current rank-and-file, will be an easier pill for CAW members to swallow come ratification time. The Globe also reports that benefits for new hires may be cut back – a move that, if attempted on the current employees, would be poorly received, to say the least.

Now, the only question is, will there be two-tier union dues?

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9 Comments on “CAW Opens Door For Wage Cuts...”

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Sounds like sanity may have broken out at CAW HQ. Treat it kindly, it’s in a strange place.

  • avatar

    In an earlier time, union dues were based on the “Rand Formula” two hours pay, straight time, per month. I think it was up to three hours when I left in late 2008.

    If its still based on X number of hours pay per month. The second tier guys will pay less.

    Before everybody freaks,ours {the CAW} system is set up different from the UAW.

    Our second tier make 10 more an hour than the Americans. Sounds good eh? No! Our second tier guys have little or no benifits. They have no layoff, and recall, rights. They have little, or no, union protection. They do pay dues however……Go figure.

    Another huge difference between ours and the UAW agreement. We allow outside people to work in the plant. Sweepers,and all cleaners,shunt drivers,unskilled maitenance,and some skilled maintenance is done by an outside company.

    Unskilled..14-15 dollars an hour. Skilled 20-22 per hour. Little or no benifits

    Shedualing, with the crucial job of sequencing,along with most sub assembly,is perfomed by an outside company. They our set up in our old truck plant. 14 to 17 per hour.

    So there you have it.

    Oh yeah, and Ingersoll Ont/ Cami plant,home of the Equinox,is CAW but they have a whole different contract, and make less money.

    • 0 avatar

      Always appreciate the insight from somebody who has walked the talk. Have to say I don’t have a problem with non CAW/UAW workers in the plant that do plant maintenance and custodial services. They are not assembly workers so I see no reason that they should be members of the same union. Sub-assembly, I am assuming, is the assembly of say, a dashboard and its prep for assembly. That IMHO should be by CAW members if it is done in the assembly plant.

  • avatar

    I agree with Mikey, except they do have Union Protection whether they are part time or New!
    Every Union Contract in Canada covered by the “Rand” Formula (Justice Rand) was brought it to settle a long strike against Ford Canada in the 30 ies!
    Kind regards Gentle Ted ex CEP Steward!

  • avatar


  • avatar
    el scotto

    @ Mikey The parts inspection company I used to work for had a contract to QC the bin of parts for each model going down the line at a plant. Before we had the contract, if a part was missing bubba/sissy would go to a parts bin further back and steal the part needed right now. The QC of the parts bins caused huge resentment and we ended up zip tying the bins shut. It took over two years to get this process fixed and the UAW constantly fought over anything and everything over this process. Even non-union line managers fought us. They all hated a process that brought order and accountability for production parts. Have no fear my friends, my company had contracts in Japanese plants too.

  • avatar

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The CAW’s problem isn’t with the corporations, it’s the UAW. Forget comparing the CAW to Canadian Honda or Toyota plants either, it’s moot. They need to compare themselves directly with UAW plants where there is no argument costs are now less because of the 2-tier system.

    On a personal level, I think the low wage of the 2nd tier workers is very short sighted as it ensures that the newest wave of workers can no longer afford the product they assemble. Did Hank the First teach us nothing?

    • 0 avatar

      They can afford the products they assemble, young, no debt probably, probably living at home with parents still. What the UAW did was set up a situation when the point comes that Tier 2 outnumber Tier 1, Tier 1 better get ready for the bareback (-) the KY. Tier 2 was done to protect the UAW already there at all costs without realizing from previous experience they were just slowly killing themselves again. This is the biggest threat to CAW, closing CAW plants, moving production to US, would mean a lot of tier 2 hires.

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