The Canadian Auto Workers stunned the auto industry yesterday by announcing it had reached agreement with Ford Motor Co. on key monetary items for a three-year deal that would freeze wages for current workers, cut one week of vacation pay and trim some retiree benefits.
In a dramatic shift from traditional bargaining at the Big Three automakers, the union revealed it had negotiated the “centrepiece” of a new deal five months earlier than in past years and it would set the pattern for subsequent agreements at General Motors and Chrysler.
Under the Ford deal, the starting wages of new employees would drop to 70 per cent of full rates but gradually increase to 100 per cent after three years. Currently, new workers start at 85 per cent and move to 100 per cent after three months.
Production technicians now earn $33.90 an hour while skilled tradespeople receive about $40.30.