GM to shut Windsor plant, CAW warns on buyouts
By John McCrank
TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian Auto Workers union has set a Wednesday deadline to reach a deal with General Motors Corp (GM.N: Quote) on buyouts and early retirement packages for about 1,200 unionized workers who will lose their jobs when GM closes a Windsor, Ontario, transmission plant in 2010.
"We could end up setting aside bargaining here on Wednesday and coming back in September with a strike deadline if we don't come together on these issues," CAW President Buzz Hargrove told reporters in Toronto.
Bargaining could be put on hold at 5 pm EDT.
The CAW has said it has a strike fund of C$70 million, which would be enough to cover a six-month walkout at GM Canada, where 15,000 CAW members are currently employed.
The union has been in early contract talks with GM since Thursday and was told during the negotiations that the Windsor plant, which employs about 1,200 unionized workers and another 150 managers and others, would be closing.
"This came as an incredible shock to us on Friday, that, in the middle of the bargaining, they would make that announcement," said Hargrove.
The 45-year-old Windsor plant makes four-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions for GM vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu, HHR and Pontiac G6.
"We have worked extensively with our labor and government partners but have been led to the unavoidable conclusion that there are no available replacement products in the relevant timeframe for this location," GM said in a release. Continued...