GM, Canadian Union Settle Contract 11 Hours Before Deadline
TORONTO (AP) _ General Motors Corp.’s Canadian subsidiary and the union representing 38,000 autoworkers have reached agreement on a tentative contract, ending the threat of a strike today.
Canadian Auto Workers union President Bob White announced at 11:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday that the two sides had resolved virtually all portions of a new contract and said the union was lifting its strike deadline of 10 a.m. today.
The union earlier reached agreements with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp.’s Canadian subsidiaries.
General Motors of Canada Ltd., the nation’s leading automaker, has eight plants in Ontario and two in Quebec.
Rick Curd, vice-president of personnel for GM of Canada, praised terms of the agreement.
″Our people are very postive about the way it was done,″ Curd said. ″It’s one of the best examples of the problem-solving approach.″
Curd said the agreement would improve the company’s position in the market.
White said he hoped the remaining details would be worked out and union members would report to work as scheduled today.
″There are outstanding issues, but they are not issues that could put us in the ditch,″ he said.
A wildcat strike at two Oshawa, Ontario GM plants has idled 4,300 workers, and White said the company had agreed not to discipline the strike leaders.
White said details of the agreement would be announced today. A ratification vote should be held over the weekend.
A principal isssue in this round of talks was the CAW’s demand for the indexing of pension benefits to inflation, which Chrysler and Ford both granted. White said GM also met the demand but said locals issues had been the main topic late in the bargaining.
On Wednesday, the union had taken steps to halt the wildcat strike.
The CAW distributed leaflets to its 17,000 members in Oshawa telling them the wildcat strike would not help negotiators reach an agreement.
White said local negotiations for Oshawa focus on demands to revert to a shift schedule recently changed by the company. He said workers were upset because the changes have meant problems for workers.
The union also was negotiating changes to work rules, he said.