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Author Topic: CAW making sweeheart deal with Magna?
TCD
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posted 13 May 2006 09:13 PM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just when I thought Buzz had hit rock bottom I read this:
quote:
Magna International Inc., which grew into the world's third-largest auto parts maker as a non-union enterprise, is discussing a "framework of fairness" with major unions, chairman Frank Stronach said yesterday.

"Unions fulfil a very important role," Stronach told Magna's annual meeting, saying they balance the naked profit motive of corporations and promote social justice, fairness and the environment... Stronach, who built Magna on an "entrepreneurial" culture based on competitive pay, profit-sharing and an employee charter guaranteeing safety and fairness, said a deal could be in place within months, although Walker added it might take years.

"We've got to work closer together," to save North American auto jobs and create new ones, Stronach said... The company "would embrace the union," collect dues and deal with formal employee representatives, he said, but "rates would have to be a little less," and there would have to be no-strike guarantees


Say it ain't so Buzz!

Buzz?

quote:
"I had lunch with Frank last week ... and we talked about a number of things," Hargrove said in an interview.

"We told him we'd be more than willing to sit down. This would be like a greenfield site for us. There's no past practice. You'd start from a clean slate."


Wow. Here I am (like an idiot) thinking that the CAW had organized a worker or two before but evidently "there's no past practice." So the CAW might just sign away the workers legal right to strike. After all, there's dues to be had! Right?

Where I come from when the CEO of a company and a "union leader" sit down at a steak house and sign a contract that takes away the right to strike that's a sweethart deal. And a yellow dog union. Am I missing something?

this is yellow dog unionism. Am I missing smoething?

[ 13 May 2006: Message edited by: TCD ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
otter
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posted 14 May 2006 02:05 PM      Profile for otter        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since Magna has always been hip deep in federal subsidy monies - regardless of how much money they made - i suspect there is going to be a serious reduction of those subsidies now that Harper has Belinda's business by the short and curlies.
From: agent provocateur inc. | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 14 May 2006 03:57 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TCD:

this is yellow dog unionism. Am I missing smoething?

Other than actual hard information about what the situation is, no, I think you're not missing anything. You've certainly got the conclusion down pat.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Kenehan
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posted 15 May 2006 07:25 PM      Profile for Kenehan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
unionist, you're such a hardass on Layton everytime he doesn't provide a treatise on his positions but when Buzz Hargrove sits down for dinner with a union busting scum bucket like Stronach for the express purpose of crafting a contract with no strike provisions you say we need more details.

Pot. Kettle. Black.


From: Ontario | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
slimpikins
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posted 15 May 2006 08:23 PM      Profile for slimpikins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hello, but every contract has a no strike clause. They also all have a no lockout clause. The trade off for that is the grievance procedure. Strikes (and lockouts, for that matter) can only legally take place when there is no contract in place, generally either for a first contract as at Lakeside Packers in Brooks, AB or for a renewal of the existing collective agreement after it has expired.

I am no fan of Hargrove, don't get me wrong. However, in every jurisdiction in Canada that I am aware of, labour laws prohibit a strike or lockout if there is a collective agreement in force anyhow. It isn't fair to lambaste Buzz for that particular issue.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 15 May 2006 08:37 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
unionist: You've certainly got the conclusion down pat.

< snerk >


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 May 2006 11:40 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by slimpikins:

I am no fan of Hargrove, don't get me wrong. However, in every jurisdiction in Canada that I am aware of, labour laws prohibit a strike or lockout if there is a collective agreement in force anyhow. It isn't fair to lambaste Buzz for that particular issue.

Furthermore, in every jurisdiction, it is illegal for non-unionized workers (such as those employees of Magna who are not yet unionized) to strike at any time whatsoever - and they can be fired summarily for such an act.

But why do facts matter when lambasting Hargrove? It is an intrinsically politically correct thing to do. Why did he dine with Frank Stronach? He must have been trying to recruit Stronach for the Liberal Party. Or looking for a free meal. Or looking for his support for Hargrove's Senate bid. Or just selling out workers in general, which is Hargrove's favourite pastime.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 15 May 2006 11:56 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Kenehan:
unionist, you're such a hardass on Layton everytime he doesn't provide a treatise on his positions but when Buzz Hargrove sits down for dinner with a union busting scum bucket like Stronach for the express purpose of crafting a contract with no strike provisions you say we need more details.

I criticize Layton when he calls for being tougher on crime; when he supports the Clarity Act; when he confuses the child care issue by calling also for child tax credits; when he inexplicably defends certain private clinics as having been around since Tommy Douglas' time; when he favours income tax cuts over GST cuts; when he jumps on the "Liberals are crooks" superficial bandwagon without also warning of the dangers of the Conservatives; when he refuses to speak out against Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan and Haiti; and when he leads the party further and further down the path of electoralism while leaving an increasingly vague (or sometimes, all-too-clear) vision of what the aim of electoral victory would be; and for many many other reasons.

Hargrove and the CAW are not an oppositional political party. I could criticize them for never having taken a stand (to my knowledge) against Canadian involvement in Afghanistan; for over-stating the benefits of the last minority government; for re-defining "concessions" as being only cuts in wages, benefits and pensions (but not necessarily other worker rights and gains); for questionable strategies in dealing with the crisis facing the auto industry; and many many other reasons.

But Hargrove and the CAW are a union and its leader. They are not, and make no pretence of being, the political voice of all progressive minded Canadians. And with all their sins, they are still light years more militant and progressive and socially involved and in the thick of the movements than the vast majority of other business-oriented unions in this country. And, to the left of today's NDP on virtually every political issue.

So when I see people attacking Hargrove as they do on this board, I observe that most do so because of his lack of unquestioning loyalty to the NDP. Well, that's a fault I share with Hargrove. I believe unions and political parties must be loyal to their members as a starting point -- not the other way around -- and then they can earn some loyalty of their own. But never blind obedience.

So, when I read attacks on Hargrove having lunch with Stronach, and the attacks are based on absence of facts (and ignorance of Canadian law) but a heavy dose of sheer visceral hatred of Hargrove -- I ask for the evidence. I didn't defend Hargrove. I want to know more about the attack first.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
TCD
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posted 16 May 2006 02:08 AM      Profile for TCD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two things

1) Kenehan misstated things a little. Every union has "no strike" provisions in their contracts. However, what Stronach refers to is a "no strike guarantee" which, I'm guessing, is along the lines of what the CAW has already signed at some Magna plants - namely they surrender the right to strike for a first contract. That is, in my books, very very bad. Now, Stronach may be referring to traditional "no strike" provisions that are in every collective agreement. Or he may have already been told be by Buzz this is a non-starter. But the article gives no such indication.

2) unionist, it's kind of silly to debate your record. But... on this thread you berate Jack for not specifically laying out the exact NDP position on Afghanistan but on this thread you strenuously argue that Hargrove is innocent until proven guilty. Buzz is having dinner with a union-busting scumbag who openly admits he wants a yellow-dog contract so he can pimp the union for more public subsidies. Buzz does not rule out any of this. But you claim, unless and until, Buzz has actually signed a deal and made it public we should assume the best of him. Why?

[ 16 May 2006: Message edited by: TCD ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 16 May 2006 03:10 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
TCD: However, what Stronach refers to is a "no strike guarantee" which, I'm guessing ...

Guessing. Uh huh. Here are some facts to add to your "guess" from the link you provided:

1. "If they reach an impasse, each side could invoke binding arbitration. After three years, the two sides would repeat the process."

In other words, in the example provided, there is a method of resolving disputes that is far from "our (management) way or the highway"; lots of so-called "essential" service and government workers can do no better than this, given the relcalcitrant and autocratic governments they have to deal with.

2. "But this is a unique situation. Workers voted 317 to 285 in favour of the union in October, 1999, after a high-profile organizing drive. The victory followed three unsuccessful drives in the previous decade. Mitic said the support of 53 per cent of workers who voted is not strong enough to risk a strike and the union's survival during the next few years."

Sounds like the union is making the best of a bad situation. Good on them. Or maybe you think it would be more "heroic" or something if there were not 3, but 4 unsuccessful organizing drives? Sounds like boss talk to me.

quote:
That is, in my books, very very bad.

What's bad is being rigid and applying the same cookie cutter to every situation.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Kenehan
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posted 16 May 2006 10:07 AM      Profile for Kenehan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Apologies for the typo earlier.

But, Betlov, if you think signing away the right to strike for a first contract is a way to build a strong union I can only assume that you've never actually been in a union - much less through negotiations.

To quote an expert, "Nobody wants to strike, but for working people the right to withdraw their own labour has been the most fundamental democratic right theyíve had. Itís been the primary tool for getting arrogant employers to take us seriously, the ticket to a measure of workplace justice for working people... Recently, the Ontario government moved to "temporarily" remove that right from public sector workers and teachers... Had the Harris government gotten away with this, thereís no doubt that they would have been encouraged to move on to take away other basic rights from all workers in this province. But the public sector unions and the teachers mobilized their members and made it clear that they would fight....The significance of this isnít just in the importance of the issue involved but in the confirmation that fighting back matters. When you fight back, you may not win, but youíre likely to at least limit the damage if not get a partial victory. When you fight back, youíre participating in the slow process of changing public opinion and whatís possible."

These words of widsom are from Buzz Hargrove. Who, as always, seems unwilling to apply the rules he wants everyone else to follow to his own union.

[ 16 May 2006: Message edited by: Kenehan ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 16 May 2006 11:44 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Kenehan:Beltov, if you think signing away the right to strike for a first contract is a way to build a strong union I can only assume that you've never actually been in a union - much less through negotiations.

Born in 1973, eh? Well this union man has been on strike, more than once, before you were 5 years old. I've acted on behalf of members at the Labour Board without the assistance of a lawyer and won, been a steward and a local President. Oh yea, I've also been in negotiations more than once. My generalizations come from my experience and from watching others with more experience.

The right to strike is, of course, worth defending once you've got it, but you can't legally strike until there exists a collective agreement, as has been pointed out in this thread more than once. So the question of a first contract isn't irrelevant at all. And sometimes it's pretty damn difficult to get it - so much so that many times there has to be a strike just to get a first contract. From what has been written here, after the two 3 year "terms" the members can negotiate a new agreement or go on strike. The right to strike hasn't been lost forever, but a period of time without a strike (just as with any collective agreement) can be used to build up the membership and prepare them for future battles. The union gets all that time to build solidarity among the rank and file. And it looks like this workplace could use the time and the help.

To have been president of the CAW Buzz Hargrove would have to be a formidable negotiator. People like that stand out and are admired by the membership for their fighting skills. The way you write here, whippersnapper, I get the distinct impression that you've never seen a really talented negotiator at work; if you had, you wouldn't be willing to trivialize the efforts of such an experienced negotiator as Hargrove, whatever his other "sins".


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
slimpikins
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posted 16 May 2006 03:35 PM      Profile for slimpikins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Having been heavily involved in the Lakeside Packers dispute in Brooks, I know a little about binding (or non binding, as in that case) arbitration. We have lobbied, and are still lobbying, for legislated first contract arbitration. It is in place in some jurisdictions, and is relatively succesful.

Once a Union is certified, employers can stall, delay, commit numerous unfair labour practices, fire supporters, etc. Although these issues get worked out in time, for the present they drain support from the Union and make it very hard to win a strike, due to the climate of fear that the company creates. It doesn't matter much if 6 months to a year down the road all the fired supporters get reinstated and paid for lost time, as the damage has already been done to the morale of the workers. I saw this firsthand at Lakeside, and it was followed by a bitter strike that saw two deaths (from a car accident while on the way home from the picket line, could have happened while on the way home from work just as easily), the president of the Union run off the road sustaining serious injury, numerous criminal charges, friendships shattered, a huge hit to a vital industry, and a lot of damage to the reputation of the City of Brooks.

First contract arbitration effectively negates these tactics and situations, and allows the Union to show the workers what can be done in a unionized workplace for the length of the collective agreement, and when the time comes for a renewal, the gloves are all the way off and the two parties can slug it out without interference.

My personal opinion of Hargrove aside, I think that it is a step forward to get an agreement to have binding first contract arbitration with an employer, unless of course the Union has 100% soid support.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 16 May 2006 11:59 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The fight for a first collective agreement is almost never less difficult than the fight to certify the unit in the first place. It's relatively easy to sign a union card. It's a huge leap of faith into the unknown to hold out for a decent first agreement against a more powerful employer who has never had to "negotiate" with more than one worker at a time.

That's why, in every jurisdiction I know that has implemented first-contract arbitration (or, as Manitoba did not very successfully for a while, final offer selection), it is uniformly the union movement which lobbies for this measure. It is an insignificant "compromise" of principles in order to gain a tactical advantage at a time which could be life or death for the new bargaining unit.

I have applied for first-contract arbitration just once. The tactic worked, and we ended up using the arbitrator as a mediator and getting a freely bargained deal.

By the same token, binding arbitration for "mature" collective bargaining relationships is anathema when it can be imposed at will.

So bad is good, good is bad. You youthful and angry social democrats should read some Marx. Life is dialectical.


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Kenehan
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posted 17 May 2006 05:00 PM      Profile for Kenehan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Who you calling a social democrat?


From: Ontario | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
pink
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posted 17 May 2006 06:40 PM      Profile for pink     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 08 June 2007: Message edited by: pink ]


From: Edmonton | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged
slimpikins
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posted 17 May 2006 06:47 PM      Profile for slimpikins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, they are giving up something, the right to strike to get a first contract. They are getting something in return, the right to have binding first contract arbitration.

I would take that deal in a heartbeat, especially with 50-odd percent support for the Union.

Or, in the alternative, you could try and win a strike with that kind of support. I have been there, done that, and yes I have the t-shirt. I would have much rather taken the non binding mediator's reccomendations, thank you very much.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 17 May 2006 08:03 PM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
pink: the right to strike comes after certification of the union, and BEFORE the collective agreement is in place - as anyone who as ever been involved in a first contract strike will tell you.

My mistake. The only strikes I've been involved with were in situations where the collective agreement was already in place. However, as slimpikins notes, "I would take that deal in a heartbeat, especially with 50-odd percent support for the Union." And that sure as hell ain't "yellow dog unionism" as TCD would have it.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Kenehan
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posted 18 May 2006 06:14 PM      Profile for Kenehan     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Would you take the "reduced rates" too?

It seems to me that the workers at Magna whose union it will be should have a say as to whether they'll strike for a first contract and the workers at Magna whose union it will be should have the right to set their dues.

But, then again, workers don't always know what's best for them - better to let Buzz and Franko sort it out over dinner. Right?


From: Ontario | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
slimpikins
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posted 18 May 2006 06:43 PM      Profile for slimpikins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As far as I am aware, there was no deal on voluntary recognition, no actual collective agreement signed, and no agreement between magna and Buzz on dues, etc. As far as I can tell, it was an agreement on binding first contract arbitration.

Stop trying to make this out to be a CLAC style sell out deal. It just plain isn't.

Bye the bye, if you are just looking to bash Buzz, there's got to be something else to hang your hat on.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 18 May 2006 07:11 PM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is sad, but very revealing, that people can try so hard to develop arguments against Hargrove's actions not because of the actions, but because it is Hargrove.
From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
slimpikins
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posted 18 May 2006 07:48 PM      Profile for slimpikins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Even worse than that, Unionist. There seems to be a small but vocal group that can manage to take anything related to a Union and make it out to be something very bad.

My own opinion of Hargrove isn't very kind, however I would have loved to have had that kind of a deal at Lakeside Packers last October. And he gets bashed on it. Go figure.


From: Alberta | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged

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