UPDATE 1-Canadian auto workers back labor pact with General Motors

Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:46am IST

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Sept 27 (Reuters) - Unionized workers at General Motors Corp's Canadian operations have voted in favor of a four-year labor agreement with the company, the Canadian Auto Workers union said on Thursday.

Some 73 percent of the GM workers who voted backed the deal, the CAW said in a statement.

The GM agreement includes a $3,000 quality and productivity bonus for workers upon ratification as well as cost of living lump sum payments of $2,000 in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015. It offers protection of current pension benefits for existing workers, as well as investment and employment commitments in all locations.

The GM ratification is the second deal to be finalized with a Detroit Three automaker in Canada after unionized workers at Ford Motor Co last Sunday voted in favor of a similar agreement with Ford.

Workers at Fiat SpA's Chrysler Group LLC will vote on their agreement with the CAW on Saturday and Sunday. The union and Chrysler reached a tentative four-year agreement late on Thursday.

The GM ratification was widely expected although talks leading up to the agreement were tough as GM, like the other two automakers, insisted that labor costs had to come down.

Under the GM deal, the company has committed to creating about 900 new jobs at its Canadian operations by adding a third shift to its "flex" line in Oshawa, Ontario.

Mirroring the Ford deal, the GM agreement freezes wages for existing workers for the first three years but provides for a cost-of-living adjustment in the fourth year. Workers will also get a series of lump-sum bonuses. New hires will start at a lower hourly rate than under the previous contract and take longer to reach the top level of the pay scale.

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