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CAW, Chrysler differ on whether there is a wage gap

by David Zatz on

Al Iacobelli, Chrysler’s Chief Bargainer, was quoted in a Chrysler release as saying:

After several days of bargaining in good faith, Chrysler and the CAW have not reached an agreement that closes the competitive gap with other automobile manufacturers in Canada, to ensure Chrysler’s immediate viability. …

The Company has been very clear in its Canadian Government testimony and position with the CAW: we must ‘close the competitive gap’ of $19 an hour immediately, with a goal of not having to affect base wages and pensions; while contributing to Chrysler’s viability with direct annual savings to the bottom-line in the current year, and each of the remaining years of the contract. …

We continue to engage with the CAW to resolve these issues in a responsible manner.

In contrast, the CAW Local 444’s Rick LaPorte wrote that Chrysler wanted to set an exchange rate of 90 U.S. cents per Canadian dollar, while the current rate is 78 cents, which artificially inflates Canadian wage figures. In addition, he wrote:

We have said in the past and we continue to say, our wages are comparable to wages of other auto workers around the world including Japan, Germany, and the United States. We have said that we will continue to maintain that investment edge when it comes to wages and productivity. Another important factor in the equation, one totally ignored by Mr. LaSorda, is the fact that we are number one in productivity compared to the other two mini-van operations.

Chrysler would prefer to compare us with car assembly plants as the benchmark; again it is like comparing apples with oranges. What I find offensive is the fact he chooses not to acknowledge our hard work. It didn’t just happen! The Canadian workforce has worked incredibly hard to achieve this status, a fact that [plant manager] Marcel Breault has commented on many times over.

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