Ford Canada labor talks continue, key issue not met

Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:26pm EDT
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By John McCrank

TORONTO (Reuters) - Cost-savings talks between Ford Motor Co's Canadian subsidiary and the Canadian Auto Workers union continued on Wednesday, but the union said Ford had so far failed to address its key issue.

Some media reports said the negotiations had broken off, but both union and company officials denied this.

"We're having some detailed back and forth and some exchange of views regarding costs, future investment plans and that sort of thing," said Jim Stanford, the CAW's economist.

Stanford said, however, that Ford has still not addressed the CAW's main concern: that Ford guarantee a certain amount of its North American manufacturing footprint stay in Canada as General Motors Co and Chrysler did in deals reached with the CAW in the spring.

"Ford has not remotely addressed this issue of the footprint," he said.

Chrysler said it would keep 20 percent of future North American production in Canada in return for union concessions that lowered its costs to around those of nonunionized Toyota and Honda plants in Canada.

GM guaranteed a Canadian manufacturing footprint of about 18 percent of its North American production.

The deals those companies struck with the union helped GM and Chrysler qualify for about C$14 billion ($13 billion) in loans from the governments of Canada and the province of Ontario to help them survive the sharp industry downturn.   Continued...