Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union members at Chrysler have now approved a new collective agreement, voting 90% in favour of ratification. Voting took place last weekend in Windsor, Brampton and Etobicoke, Ontario, where the automaker has factories.

The CAW said the contract with Chrysler follows the pattern deal set with Ford on 17 September and mirrored in the agreement with General Motors reached on 20 September. Ford and GM workers ratified the agreement by margins of 82% and 73%, respectively. 

The Chrysler agreement includes a C$3,000 ratification bonus for workers as well as cost of living lump sum payments of $2,000 in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It offers protection of current pension benefits for existing workers, as well as job commitments in all locations.

Now that union members have officially signed off on the three major auto agreements, CAW president Ken Lewenza said the union would shift its attention toward winning a long-overdue national auto policy for Canada.

“One of our objectives coming into these talks was to position our industry for future growth and success, and we did as much as we possibly could on that front,” Lewenza said in a statement. “But without a comprehensive sector development strategy, the future of auto manufacturing in Canada remains uncertain, at best.”

Lewenza said that, as in most major auto-producing nations (Germany, Brazil and others), a national auto policy can lay the foundation for the sector’s ongoing competitiveness and prosperity, and avoid a ‘race-to-the-bottom’ on working conditions. He said the union would re-double its effort to win the active support of the federal government on this issue.

The CAW’s Re-Think Canada’s Auto Industry campaign proposals include the development of a transparent and consistent auto investment policy, building a green industry, a buy-Canadian vehicle purchasing strategy, a re-think on automotive trade policy, negotiating Canadian manufacturing footprint commitments, and other measures.

The CAW represents 21,000 workers at the ‘Detroit Three’ auto companies operating in Canada, including 8,000 at Chrysler.