The Canadian Auto Workers union announced that 82 percent of its Ford members approved of a new four year union deal this past weekend. The deal was decided the same week that General Motors reached a new agreement with the CAW, but GM workers have yet to vote on the proposed new union agreement. They are set to vote on the tentative agreement this coming Wednesday and Thursday.
It is not clear though how many of the 4,500 workers at the Ford plant actually casted their ballots on Sunday, but those that did vote seemed to agree that this was the best option for all parties involved.
The GM and Ford contracts cut wages for new hires and freeze pay for those already working for the companies. At the same time though, it gives workers lump-sum payments to cover inflation and for ratifying the deals.
Thanks to the new Ford and GM deals, the auto companies will now pay new workers 60 percent of the current top wage of $33.89 Canadian dollars, or $34.74 U.S. dollars an hour, according to the CAW. That would mean that newly hired workers will now be paid around $20.33 Canadian dollars or $20.84 U.S. dollars an hour. After 10 years they can move up the wage scale and reach the top wage.
Ford said that with the new deal, it creates 600 new jobs in Canada, and that they are now in a better position to start supporting the growth of the Canadian economy.
Auto companies around the world agree that Canada is the most expensive place to make cars and trucks in the world, and if the CAW didn't cut costs, they would have had to consider moving production plants elsewhere.
Chrysler remains the last of the "Big 3" auto plants to come to a new union agreement with the CAW. The union is hoping that Chrysler accepts an agreement similar to the deals they reached with Ford and GM.
The CAW represents over 21,000 Canadian auto workers and 16 percent of auto production in North America.