Report: Chrysler and CAW Sign Labor Agreement

Chrysler Group and the Canadian Auto Workers reached a new four-year labor agreement yesterday. General Motors and Ford had already signed new contracts with the CAW after lengthy bargaining processes. The new agreement still has to be ratified by Chrysler employees; the CAW represents about 8000 Chrysler workers in Canada.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Chrysler told the CAW it was in the worst financial shape of the Detroit Three automakers, so it pushed back against many of the union's proposals. Unlike Ford and GM, Chrysler didn't agree to expanding its Canadian workforce or investing in new production facilities. However, Chrysler did agree to maintain its Canadian workforce; Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne had previously threatened to move productions if costs were too high. The CAW had reportedly hoped that Chrysler would commit to building a next-generation minivan at the Windsor Assembly Plant and to adding new products or a third production shift in Brampton, Ontario

Under the new four-year agreement, Chrysler workers are eligible for a $3000 signing bonus, plus $2000 cost-of-living bonuses in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Then the company will restore workers' cost-of-living wage adjustments in 2016.

Despite efforts to create a second-tier wage schedule, Chrysler will retain a single-tier salary scale. But the pay for new hires has been lowered to $20.40 per hour, about 60 percent the rate for long-term employees.

"We are satisfied that we have a reasonable deal, and we are satisfied that Chrysler can grow in Canada," CAW president Ken Lewenza told the Free Press.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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