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CAW ratifies new Chrysler labor pact

Keywords: Tags  CAW, Canadian Auto Workers, Ken Lewenza, Chrysler, Al Iacobelli, labor contract, Ford, General Motors automotive

CHICAGO — Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union members have ratified a new labor contract with Chrysler Group LLC.

The move finalizes a round of contract negotiations between the CAW and the Canadian operations of the Detroit-area’s Big Three automakers: General Motors Co., Detroit; Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich.; and Chrysler, Auburn Hills, Mich.

Ninety percent of the CAW’s Chrysler members approved the contract, the union said.

The contract with Chrysler followed the framework of agreements already ratified by unionized workers at Ford and GM, the CAW said. It includes a Canadian $3,000 ($3,052) signing bonus and cost-of-living payments of C$2,000 ($2,035) in December 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The agreement also freezes the base wage of employees for the duration of the contract, Chrysler said.

"The new agreement rewards employees for their commitment during our ongoing recovery and narrows the gap on our future competitiveness here in Canada," Chrysler vice president of employee relations Al Iacobelli said in a statement.

The CAW represents 8,000 workers at Chrysler in Canada, it said.

Chrysler noted that one of every four vehicles it produces is made in Canada.

The union will now shift its focus toward pressing Canada to develop a national auto policy, something vehicle manufacturing nations such as Germany and Brazil already have in place, CAW president Ken Lewenza said.

"Without a comprehensive (auto) sector development strategy, the future of auto manufacturing in Canada remains uncertain, at best," he added.

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