Going into negotiations with the Detroit Three, discussions looked the most favorable and amiable between the Canadian Auto Workers and Ford, and today, CAW membership voted in favor of the four-year contract with Ford. Most current workers will not be affected by the terms of the new contract, with most of the concessions and changes affecting employees hired after September 23, 2012.
The compromise deal, which is expected to set the stage for agreements with General Motors and Chrysler, freezes base wages through September 2016, and offers new hires a $3000 signing bonus and a $2000 lump-sum payment in lieu of an annual cost-of-living adjustment. New hires will also get a hybrid defined contribution/defined benefit plan as opposed to current workers’ straight defined benefit pension plan. The agreement also starts off new hires at a lower wage than current workers, with a 10-year ‘grow-in’ to reach the same wage structure as senior employees.
The agreement also promises more than 600 new jobs in Canada, with a third shift added to the Oakville Assembly plant in the body, paint and pre-trim departments, along with the promise of Oakville getting a new model based on a global platform. Ford’s Windsor engine plant is also expected to get approximately 35 new jobs as part of the agreement.
CAW president Ken Lewenza acknowledged the importance of growth and flexibility in a statement following the ratification:
“Our members at Ford recognize that in these uncertain economic times, some of the most important elements of a new collective agreement are future investment and improved job security. This new agreement will ensure that our facilities are well-positioned for a strong future in the North American auto industry.”
Among Ford workers represented by the CAW, 81 percent of production, 87 percent of skilled trade, and 100 percent of office workers voted in favor of the contract.
Source: Ford, CAW