TORONTO – The Canadian Auto Workers union said Friday that little progress has been made in negotiations with Detroit's three big automakers as a strike deadline looms Monday night.
The union said that a number of senior executives from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford are now in Toronto, but the automakers are still far from agreement on fundamental issues.
Union secretary-treasurer Peter Kennedy says the union may strike at all three companies if negotiations fail. The CAW represents about 4,500 workers at Ford, 8,000 workers at GM and another 8,000 at Chrysler.
The CAW's contracts with Ford Motor Co., Chrysler and General Motors Co. all expire at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
At issue is the future of Canada's auto industry.
The auto companies say Canada is now the most expensive place in the world to make cars and trucks, and they say they could move production south if the CAW doesn't cut costs. But the union is resisting demands for concessions, which they say include wage cuts for new hires, the elimination of cost-of-living adjustments and dramatic changes to pension plans.
Canada's advantages in the past, a weaker Canadian dollar and government health care, have all but vanished. In addition, the United Auto Workers union in the U.S. has agreed to steeper concessions than the CAW, making U.S. labor costs cheaper.
At a Detroit event on Friday, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne also said negotiators have made progress, but there is a long way to go, according to The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.
"The facts are the facts and I think ignoring them and sweeping them under the carpet is not going to make anybody's life better," Marchionne told reporters.