As deadline for a walkout draws close, The Canadian Auto Workers union said Friday that the three main differences between CAW and American automakers are unresolved.
Detroit's big three are looking for concessions from CAW workers because it now costs more to have their cars built by Canadians that at home in Detroit.
The gap between Canadian and U.S. labour ranges from about $8 an hour at Chrysler Group LLC to about $2 an hour at General Motors Co. The Canadian dollar is now worth about $1.5 compared to the American dollar and high Canadian labour is driving Canadian car business back to the states.
“Each of the three companies remains steadfast in their determination to force deep concessions on both existing and future workers,” the CAW said in a bulletin issued to members Friday morning.
“The CAW is equally determined to resist these demands and negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the best interest of our members.”
The Canadian union has “offered to cut starting wages to less than the current figure of about $24 an hour and stretch the time it takes for new workers to reach full wages of $34 an hour to 10 years from the current six-year period,” according to Globe and Mail report.
However, in a sour global economy, jobs starting at just under $24 per hour are rare in the U.S. and other countries and Detroit is looking down the road at production costs, eying the U.S., Mexico and other countries with lower labour costs.
Canada lost tens of thousands of jobs amid dozens of plant closings over the past two decades. In 1990, the CAW represented about 65,000 autoworkers (excluding auto parts); today the union represents about 25,000 - less than half. CAW currently represents a total of 195,000 workers across all industries in Canada.
A strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. is set for next Monday by the CAW, and to date it has included all three U.S. automakers in negotiations with little success. Another strategy is to “target” single companies to reach an agreement on a framework for the other two auto makers to follow, however that option has not been engaged.