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February 27, 2008
CAW Skilled Trades Collective bargaining Conference
More than 200 delegates from across Canada gathered to debate key bargaining issues facing CAW Skilled Trades Members at the CAW’s Skilled Trades
Collective Bargaining Conference held February 20 to 22, 2008 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

The conference was held as the CAW heads into a critical round of collective bargaining with the Big Three auto makers (Ford, GM and Chrysler) later this year.  
Delegates debated and set the bargaining agenda for skilled trade’s members across all economic sectors of the union over the next three years.

CAW President Buzz Hargrove opened the conference with a speech that touched upon numerous pressing national and international issues, including the
need to defeat the Harper Tory government, the continuing conflict in the Middle East and Canada’s involvement.

Hargrove also outlined important concerns for Big Three bargaining, namely the two-tier wage structure and the elimination of post-retirement health care
benefits for new hires in the U.S.  He stressed that what happens in the auto industry has larger implications across the labour movement.  For this reason,
concessions must be resisted, he said.  “Workers cannot buy job security through concessions, nor can they save an industry through bargaining,” said
Hargrove.

Key issues were highlighted in resolutions such as the renewed commitment against the two-tier structure, negotiating language for buy-Canadian policies
with employers, skilled trade’s co-ordinators and time off the job for social justice projects.

The conference also featured guest presentations by Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy, Donald Sutherland of the Australian
Manufacturing Workers Union, CAW Economist Jim Stanford, Work Organization and Training Director David Robertson, Pension and Benefits Director Sym
Gill as well as an overview of apprenticeship programs across the country.

Source:  CAW NewsNow