(Reuters) - Less than a week before contracts between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three automakers expire, the two sides are meeting more frequently, but talks “have not yielded many results,” the union said on Wednesday.
“All three companies appear to be fixated not merely on cost containment, but on deep concessions that would have a lasting and severe impact on our members,” the CAW said in a leaflet distributed to its members and the media.
Even so, the union, which represents some 20,000 workers at Fiat SpA’s Chrysler FIA.MI, Ford Motor Co (F.N) and General Motors Corp (GM.N) repeated that it is still hopeful of avoiding a strike by reaching a new agreement with at least one of the companies.
“Collectively though, we must be ready for any outcome,” the union said.
The CAW warned last week that it could launch a strike simultaneously at all three companies if there is no agreement before all of the contracts expire at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on September 17 (0359 GMT, September 18).
Such a “triple strike” would be unprecedented in Canada’s auto sector and would halt Detroit Three vehicle production in Canada, along with production of engines and transmission systems that are used in both Canadian and U.S. auto production plants.
The companies, who say Canada is now the most expensive place in the world to assemble cars, want to create a two-tier workforce, under which new employees are paid at a lower rate than existing employees, the union said earlier this week.
Among other demands, the companies also want changes to workers’ pension plans and the permanent elimination of cost-of-living adjustments, the union has said.
The union argues that its members made major concessions in their last contracts, when the industry was reeling from recession, and that they now deserve to share in the industry’s turnaround.
Reporting By Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Frank McGurty