CAW Union Set To Push Pension Benefits to Forefront of Contract Talks

February 15, 2005 ( - The Canadian Auto Workers' union will push for improvements in the pensions offered to its members when it meets with representatives from the Big Three automakers this year.

According to Reuters, the union plans to put pension issues at the top of the list in the coming year when it has contract talks with General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

The union hopes to secure higher benefits for future retirees plus improve incentive programs aimed at getting workers to retire early. The union also wants to secure better terms for current retirees as well as to secure pension guarantees.

Buzz Hargrove, head of the union, told reporters that after seeing the pension battles at Air Canadaand Stelco Inc. (See PBGC to Pick Up Latest Steel Industry Plan ), the union has become more determined to put the benefits issue at the center of any talks with the companies.

“That’s certainly turning out to be a priority for the union,” Hargrove said in an interview this week, according to Reuters. “I would say (we want) a very substantial improvement in both current retirees’ benefits and pension plans for future retirees.”