What is a director of CLAC doing supporting CAW? While we may be rival unions, there are times when we agree on issues, and the case of CAW’s fight against a two-tiered wage structure is one of them.
In 2007, as part of the auto sector’s financial bailout, the UAW accepted a two tier wage system in which entry level workers would be paid $14 per hour. Between 4 and 30 percent of auto workers in the USA receive the low wage (the number varies between the Big Three).
CAW, as part of the Canadian bailout, accepted large concessions in their total compensation package but managed to hold on to a single wage grid. But for how long?
TRW Canada, an automotive supplier for vehicle manufactures, has already negotiated $14 per hour wages for auto-assemblers in St. Catharines. It takes little imagination to foresee what the next round of Big Three negotiations with the CAW will look like. You can bet low wages will be on the table along with threats of moving production elsewhere. If the Big Three succeed, traditionally well paid auto-assemblers will be working for $14 per hour. This affects all of us.