BUSINESS

Canadian Auto Workers Strike Could Hit All 3 Detroit Automakers At Once

09/05/2012 10:08 EDT | Updated 11/05/2012 05:12 EST
CP
TORONTO - Workers need to be ready to shut down the Canadian operations of the Big 3 Detroit automakers if a deal can't be reached at the bargaining table, the Canadian Auto Workers' union told its members Wednesday.

"It is our hope and intention to reach an agreement with at least one of the three companies before the deadline," the union said in a news release.

"We must be prepared though to shut down operations at all three, should we be unable to reach an agreement."

The strike deadline is Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m.

The union said it's not immediately announcing a strike target for this round of negotiations with General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.

"This set of negotiations, the CAW is attempting a different approach by not immediately announcing a target company, with the goal of moving negotiations along with all three," the union said.

But the auto workers' union added the Big 3 automakers aren't serious about reaching a deal and want to cut costs from existing agreements.

"The corporations have been uniformly clear — anything that adds cost will have to be paid for by savings elsewhere in the agreement," the CAW said.

Hourly workers at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford plants in Canada have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike to back their contract demands.

The CAW said local unions across the three auto companies are being asked to form strike committees and start preparations for a strike.

The Canadian Auto Workers' union has said Chrysler workers have voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action if necessary. The vote was almost as strong at General Motors, where 98 per cent backed strike action, and at Ford, where the vote was 97 per cent.

The union is looking to share in improving financial position of the three automakers after making concessions during the recession.

However, the automakers are looking to pare costs labour costs in Canada, which they say are higher than in the United States.

The last CAW strike was in 1996, against General Motors.

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