just-auto.com

CANADA: Auto workers union starting Freightliner talks

By just-auto.com editorial team | 18 December 2002

A Reuters report said that the Canadian Auto Workers union will begin contract talks on Tuesday with Freightliner's Canadian truck plant later this week, but the union admitted on Monday that it cannot hope for the same lucrative deals scored at big car makers.

Reuters said the talks with DaimlerChrysler's Sterling Truck division in St. Thomas, Ontario, come just months after the CAW won the right to form a union at the plant that makes about 70 medium and heavy duty trucks a day.

But CAW spokesman Bob Chernecki told Reuters that the union would not be able to extract the same type of deals scored at the car makers, given the shaky economics of a truck sector that faces plant closures and massive layoffs.

"We're in a different industry here. I'm not going to say we're going to pattern after the Big Three, that's not what will happen here. I'm not going to say we're going to come out with an agreement that looks like DaimlerChrysler. I don't believe that's going to happen here," Chernecki said, according to Reuters.

Reuters said Chernecki added "There's a whole host of workplace issues that will take priority over other things."

Reuters noted that the powerful CAW last October agreed lucrative contracts, with three years of pay raises, and secured the future of a number of plants in pay talks with General Motors of Canada, Ford Motors of Canada and DaimlerChrysler.

Reuters said that, though the Freightliner talks begin on Tuesday, intense bargaining is due to start in the middle of January.