Deal saving Lear jobs signals shift in bargaining approach

Industry association welcomes evidence of ‘flexible, creative and innovative’ attitudes
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 03/19/2012

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union and seat-maker Lear Corp. have reached a deal that will see the Kitchener-Waterloo plant in Ontario stay open and protect retirees’ pensions.

The agreement will see wages reduced by 30 per cent over the next four years, with a $40,000 transition payment. New hires will start at about one-half of what workers earn today.

But the agreement is “not the new norm — period,” for southwestern Ontario’s auto parts sector, says Jerry Dias, assistant to CAW president Ken Lewenza and the person who heads up negotiations with auto parts manufacturers.