The Canadian Auto Workers or CAW union on late Thursday said its negotiators have reached a new four-year tentative agreement with the Canadian unit of General Motors Co. (GM: Quote,GMM-U.TO: Quote).
At a press conference, CAW President Ken Lewenza announced some of the key details of the agreement including a $3000 quality and productivity bonus for workers upon ratification as well as cost of living lump sum payments of $2000 in each of 2013, 2014, and 2015. The cost of living payments will be paid before the Christmas holiday period.
Lewenza said the deal offers protection of current pension benefits for existing workers and incremental improvements in benefits, including dental care.
Also, GM made commitments in the deal that will create, maintain, or extend total 1750 jobs across its Canadian operations.
CAW noted that the new agreement follows the same core compensation features as in the pattern agreement reached earlier this week with Ford Motor Co. (F: Quote). Last Sunday, CAW selected Ford as the target automaker for contract talks ahead of a strike deadline at midnight on September 17. Lewenza had said then that it will focus on high-level contract negotiations with Ford while continuing talks with GM and Fiat SpA's (FIATY) Chrysler Group LLC.
CAW added today that GM, in its pact, agreed to the same ten-year New Hire Grow-In program as appears in the Ford agreement. Under this, new hires start at $20.40, equal to 60 percent of the current base rate, and grow in to full compensation after 10 years.
Additional GM-specific aspects of the agreement were negotiated as well, including specific investment and employment commitments in all locations, the union said.
GM also has committed to create a third shift in the Oshawa Flex assembly plant, starting early next year, which will create or maintain 900 jobs. The union pointed out that production at the Oshawa Consolidated Plant will be extended on at least one shift, and possibly two, for an additional year until June 2014. This will result in an extension of at least 750 jobs, and more if the second shift is extended.
The automaker also made firm commitments to a range of new engine and transmission investments and production in St. Catharines resulting in 100 new positions.
The union added that GM's commitments in Oshawa and St. Catharines involve additional capital spending during this collective agreement of at least $675 million.
CAW also said it is continuing talks with Chrysler intenting to reach a third, and final, deal that follows the pattern established at the other two Detroit Three automakers.
General Motors shares closed Thursday's trading at $24.42, down $0.33 or 1.33 percent.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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