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October 29, 2007

Re: CAW/Magna Framework of Fairness Agreement

Brother Hargrove,

There is no question this agreement will cause apprehension and concern; not only within the CAW, but across the broader Canadian labour movement.

This agreement contemplates an overhaul of CAW traditional bargaining practices processes, grievance procedures and union representation on the shop floor. Without question the most fundamental change contained in the agreement that moves away from traditional labour practices is; the right to strike.

As you are aware the Canadian Labour Council Code of Ethical Practices provides that all union members have the right to take part fully and freely in their union, vote for officers and stand for and hold office. With all due respect; under the signed agreement of principles between CAW and Magna it would appear these rights have been abolished.

Buzz, establishing a “no-strike” clause goes against the fundamental rights of unionized workers. The right to strike is the cornerstone of workplace democracy and should never be set aside under any circumstance.

Concerns from unionist and industry experts on a “no-strike” clause for union workers, and how this model may become precedent setting and have serious implications across the entire industry and beyond, are well founded; these concerns have merit and need further investigation and review to understand the full ramifications surrounding the overall agreement.

I currently represent approximately 600 CAW members in the Independent Parts Sector – it’s no secret this sector has recently come under attack from employers demanding wage cuts and other regression demands.

The industry has become so cut-throat that in most recent times, corporations have been “linking” awarding new product with concessions, there is no question if the proposed agreement moves forward, the threat Magna will pose – not only to their direct competitors, but more importantly to the overall industry and labour movement.

Although I respect your position as National President; however for the reasons outlined above I cannot in good conscience support the proposed agreement as drafted by the National Union.

In Solidarity,

Jeff Casey
President
CAW Local 4451