CAW Says It May Give GM Strike Notice in Negotiations

The Canadian Auto Workers may give 24 hours’ strike notice to General Motors Co. (GM) as early as today unless the carmaker adjusts a contract offer, union President Ken Lewenza said.

GM’s offer falls short of a deal reached this week with Ford Motor Co. (F), Lewenza told reporters today at a Toronto hotel where the union is negotiating with GM and Chrysler Group LLC. The union leader’s comments came after the CAW earlier said it was making “gradual progress” with Chrysler.

The Toronto-based union is trying to wrap up accords with U.S.-based automakers after reaching a tentative four-year labor agreement Sept. 17 with Ford. The CAW indefinitely extended a strike deadline with Chrysler and GM while saying it wants any deal with GM and Chrysler to match the basic terms of the Ford settlement. Union members at Ford are voting whether to ratify the deal this weekend.

“General Motors of Canada has delivered a proposal to the CAW that meets pattern on all elements of the Ford agreement,” Adria MacKenzie, a GM spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The Ford agreement mostly eliminates cost-of-living raises for workers and retirees. Ford agreed to create about 600 jobs, including a partial third shift at a vehicle-assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, the union said. Workers will get C$2,000 ($2,046) lump-sum payments in lieu of raises and a C$3,000 ratification bonus. The pension plan won’t be changed to a 401(k)-like defined-contribution plan, the CAW said.

Earlier today, the union said there had movement in the Chrysler talks.

“Chrysler executives seem to be more willing to reach an agreement than they were previously,” the union said in a written update for members. The CAW has said it would not issue a new strike deadline as long as negotiations made headway.

LouAnn Gosselin, a Chrysler spokeswoman, declined to comment in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Altstedter in Toronto at aaltstedter@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net; Jacqueline Thorpe at jthorpe23@bloomberg.net

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