CAW-GM contract process ''one of the hardest ever''
The President of CAW Local 199 predicts the upcoming contract process with General Motors will be "one of the hardest ones ever".
Negotiations between Canadian Auto Workers, GM, Ford & Chrysler start in Toronto Tuesday.
The CAW will be asking the automakers to invest in all their Canadian facilities.
Local 199 boss Wayne Gates tells 610 CKTB's Tom McConnell it makes sense for GM because Canadian auto workers are highly skilled, productive & churn out the company's best-selling cars.
He says St. Catharines' GM plant still faces challenges, including a high dollar. Gates wants the future of the now shuttered Ontario St GM plant addressed during contract talks. He says both sides also have to bring CAW members working auto plants in Oshawa & Ingersoll for over a decade home.
The CAW hopes to avoid a strike, which would pull the brakes on momentum auto companies have seen lately as they have worked to recover from the recession.
Union President Ken Lewenza says the union made a number of sacrifices, including to vacation time & cost-of-living payments, to help struggling automakers in 2008 & 2009.
While the CAW doesn't expect to regain all they gave up, Lewenza says they want to make some progress now that the companies are making profits again.
*With files from the Canadian Press