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Canadian Auto Workers Agree to Concessions With Chrysler, Extending to GM, Ford

Unionized auto workers in Canada have agreed to concessions in their contracts in an agreement that was approved with Chrysler Canada and will be extended to cover employees at General Motors Canada and Ford Canada as well. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that newly hired Canadian workers will contribute directly to their own pensions, CAN$1 for every hour worked or approximately $1,700 per year. Other concessions include a freeze on wages and pension increases until 2012, an end to company coverage of semi-private hospital rooms, an increase to healthcare co-payments, and an increase in the amount of time it takes newly hired workers to reach full wages. The Globe and Mail says the concessions will cut Chrysler Canada's labor costs by about $240 million annually, which meets the demand set by the Canadian government to cut labor costs to $57 per hour to match those of Toyota Canada. "Sacrifices have to be made because we have a cannon at our head," says Ken Lewenza, head of the Canadian Auto Workers union, quoted in the Globe and Mail.

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