Editorial: Did The CAW Swindle Sergio?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
editorial did the caw swindle sergio

As the Friday workday winds down, we’re still without an agreement between the CAW and Chrysler. Ford and GM are waiting on ratification by the CAW members at their plants, and it’s looking more and more like Ken Lewenza and the Canadian Auto Workers were able to outmaneuver Sergio Marchionne.

In the run-up to the talks, Marchionne’s rhetoric was, to use the old cliché, “tough but fair”. Rather than bluster and grandstand, his remarks about the need to reduce fixed costs were grounded in reality, while also padding his verbal blows with deliberate flourishes of magnanimity, telling The Globe and Mail

“People have got to get it through their heads that I’m not Mr. Scrooge here,” he said…I’ve got to run the business and the business says that, if I do well, I’m willing to distribute that wealth…I cannot institutionalize and guarantee you that wealth.”

Couple that with the enormous goodwill that has accompanied his transformation of Chrysler from a a four-wheeled farce to a serious contender in a number of segments. But, to paraphrase Jay-Z “it was all good just two weeks ago”.

As of 5 P.M. Friday, Chrysler remains the sole auto maker not to have reached any agreement, and from this vantage point, it appears that Marchionne has two options.

  1. Come to an agreement with the CAW, using the Ford and Chrysler agreements as a pattern.
  2. Risk a strike

Ford and General Motors have now effectively set the tone for whatever agreement Chrysler and the CAW reach. The “pattern” is not what Marchionne wants; no permanent two-tier wage system, no profit-sharing, a cut in fixed labor costs that doesn’t go as far as he’d like.

CAW President Ken Lewenza told the Windsor Star that

the union would be pressing for product investment at the two-shift operation in Brampton. “Chrysler has been a very stable company in Canada.”

Chrysler’s Windsor minivan plant is currently operating with three shifts, and adding another one to Brampton would be in line with the GM and Ford agreements, which will add new jobs to the Oakville and Oshawa plant. While those jobs will allow for the re-hiring of laid off workers, added jobs at Chrysler would see the new hires start at reduced wages and entitled to a less generous pension plan. But with Marchionne said to be made of sterner stuff than your average man, the alternative could be a strike – one that could have serious blowback for Chrysler.

With as much as 25 percent of their production located in Canada, a protracted strike would harm the record sales years that Chrysler is having in Canada and the United States. His threats of moving production out of Canada are theoretically possible, but their execution would be difficult. Not only w

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  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂