CAW members have, by a vote of 87%, agreed to ratify a restructuring agreement with Chrysler that will see them, among other things, pay into their own pensions. The United Auto Workers in the US reached a tentative deal with Chrysler on Sunday which is expected to be put to a vote on Wednesday. These agreements are a first step in paving the way for government funding and an alliance with Fiat.
Chrysler and the CAW have broken with pattern bargaining and have struck a tentative deal "for deep worker concessions" to help the auto maker. The Globe reports (as do many others others) that:
The Canadian Auto Workers union has surrendered years of hard-won
gains to keep the operations of Chrysler Canada Inc. from being
liquidated in a likely bankruptcy protection filing by the troubled
The groundbreaking concessions came after four days of tense,
multiparty negotiations that involved the federal and Ontario
governments and Italian auto maker Fiat SpA, would-be saviour of
The CAW reports on the tentative deal on their website:
The agreement will result in over $240 million per year in annual cost
savings for Chrysler's Canadian operations, as a result of a
combination of benefit reductions, compensation changes, and increased
productivity through operational improvements. CAW members perform
12.5 million hours of work per year for Chrysler Canada. The agreement
therefore meets the benchmark for negotiations which was established by
the federal and Ontario governments as a condition of their continuing
support for the two companies.
The tentative agreement contains the GM concessions and, according to the CAW, the following:
The elimination of semi-private hospital coverage.
The elimination of a one-time $3,500 vacation buyout negotiated in 2008.
The elimination of clawback reimbursement through the SUB program.
The elimination of employee car purchase and tuition rebate programs.
An increase in the waiting period for sickness & accident benefits.
A reduction in the maximum dispensing fee for prescriptions.
These are extremely difficult times for everyone and, I'm certain, the CAW did not break easily from pattern bargaining. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough.
On April 23 the Ontario legislature passed a bill (Bill 118) prohibiting anyone from "holding or using a
hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed
device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone
communications, electronic data, mail or text
The new rules will not come into effect until at least the fall according to the Globe. Bluetooth sales are expected to get a boost.
A few days ago I posted about the CAW's concerns about the Ontario government's announcement that they would not allow the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund to operate at a deficit.
Fast forward, and now the Montreal Gazette has an article Are our pensions safe? Union asks Ottawa for guarantee not dealing with the auto industry, but with AbitibiBowater Inc. filing for bankruptcy protection on Friday. This time the Union is turning to the federal government for assistance. The union is also asking for a bail-out package. According to the article:
He [Renaud Gagné, CEP-Quebec vice-president] said it's now time for the Quebec government to step in with at
least $100 million in guaranteed loans to keep AbitibiBowater afloat
and save jobs.
CEP national secretary-treasurer Gaétan Ménard
suggested the governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia also chip in since
AbitibiBowater has operations there as well.
..... balancing higher education and work is a tricky business, with every extra hour students spend on the job each week reducing the likelihood that they will finish their degree.
"The main message here is that working and going to school is not a good thing," said Anne Motte, one of the study's authors and a researcher with the Millennium Foundation. That finding, Ms. Motte said, is contrary to popular wisdom, which has generally been that working part time is good for students, as long as the hours aren't excessive.
With mounting student debt, the message from this study is troubling particularly given the number of college and university students that have no choice but to hold down a job while going to school.
More than 100 jobseekers have signed up for $20 tickets (proceeds go to
Project Winter Survival charity), as have 20 recruiters and employment
coaches, and a few dozen loyal friends going along as emotional support.
It's an interesting job search initiative mixing networking and fun in a time of great uncertainty.
Subject to human rights legislation and obtaining suitable consents, conducting pre-hire criminal background checks is common in Canada.
However, according to a Globe and Mail article effective immediately, "baggage handlers, caterers and other airport workers will not merely
undergo standard criminal background checks through CPIC, the Canadian
Police Information Centre, they will face scrutiny under much more
obscure databanks, with names like PROS, ACIIS, and SPROS."
The sweeping scope of the checks means that people who want to work
inside secure areas at Canadian airports will be scrutinized for
everything from past traffic accidents to links to criminal and
terrorist groups. Police can run searches for any warrants outstanding
in any of the 187 member countries that form Interpol.
The decision is, of course, fraught with employment and privacy questions.
Back in 2004 I wrote Some Thoughts on the Timing of the Termination and in 2005 I wrote 12 Thoughts on Employee Terminations in which I echo Mike's views. With respect to the Friday termination I'd also add that the employee will not be able to get legal advice over the weekend though they will get advice from well meaning people such as their family or friends who may not have any legal training whatsoever and might, unintentionally, aggravate the situation such that the employee, come Monday, is all fired up and looking for a fight.
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