CAW members vote on Ford deal over weekend; GM workers to vote on Wednesday

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TORONTO - Ford workers in Hamilton and Windsor, Ont., vote today on a four-year deal reached this week that has been endorsed by their union leadership.

Other Ford ratification meetings will be held Sunday in Windsor and Brampton, Ont.

The Canadian Auto Workers says the proposed contract would create new employment opportunities for hundreds of laid off workers and provide cost of living lump sum payments.

CAW President Ken Lewenza says despite the endorsement from union negotiators, it's up to rank-and-file members to decide.

Ratification meetings for General Motors employees on a tentative deal that will maintain 1,750 jobs that had been in question will be held next Wednesday in Oshawa, Ont.

The CAW says it hopes it's just days away from reaching an agreement with Chrysler, though Chrysler has been reluctant to follow a pattern deal reached with its rivals.

"I'm optimistic that within the next three or four days we can get the job done," Lewenza said Friday.

Lewenza said Chrysler is fully aware that following the pattern set by its American rivals is essential for the union.

"If it breaks down in any way, we'll give the 24-hours notice and we'll utilize the tool but I'm anticipating we won't need to do that in the next three or four days," he said.

The GM and Ford deals will see new hires paid a lower rate, $20.40 an hour, which equals 60 per cent of current base pay and progressing to full pay in 10 years, longer than the six years agreed upon in the last agreement.

They will also be converted to a hybrid pension plan, which is less burdensome to the company than the defined benefit plan that current employees receive.

All employees at both automakers will receive a $2,000 annual cost of living lump sum payment and a $3,000 ratification bonus.

Organizations: Ford, General Motors, Canadian Auto Workers The GM

Geographic location: Windsor, TORONTO, Hamilton Brampton Oshawa

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