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Union deal with Ford to include job cuts

Canadian Auto Workers accept that in difficult financial times unions must suffer as well

TORONTO — The Canadian Auto Workers union is close to finalizing a new labor deal with Ford Motor Co. that will mean significant job cuts, the union's leader said Sunday night.

CAW president Buzz Hargrove received a formal proposal from Ford on Sunday and he believes it will satisfy the concerns of his members.

A deal with Ford on economic issues would set a pattern that its Big Three competitors, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG, would be expected to accept in subsequent talks this month.

Hargrove said a settlement could be announced as soon as today.

"This is not the richest settlement. There will be moderate improvements in most areas," Hargrove said. "I think it is a responsible response by Ford Motor Co. in some of the most difficult times that we've faced as an industry which means our union has to face it as well."

Hargrove declined to say how many jobs could be lost, but said at the end of the three-year contract there will be "significantly less people" working for Ford. Such cuts will impact thousands of workers in the Ontario cities of St. Thomas and Windsor, where Ford has operations that may need to be downsized.

The CAW is trying to reduce job losses by winning new investments at Ontario factories in its negotiations with Ford.

The new labor contract will cover more than 11,000 Ontario workers.

In July, Ford reported profits fell 19 percent in the second quarter, hurt by lower production and harsh competition in North America, where it lost more than $900 million. Ford's finance arm carried the automaker.

If no deal with Ford is reached today, Hargrove has said he'll shift the focus of his negotiating team to DaimlerChrysler, which could face a strike by 11,400 workers later this month.