TORONTO -- Workers at Navistar International Corp.'s Canadian heavy truck plant voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new scheme on Tuesday that will keep the doomed plant in southwestern Ontario open.
The Canadian Auto Workers union said more than 90 percent of the workers who voted approved of the plan that would guarantee the production of at least 35 trucks a day until January 2007, at which point the two sides will come back to the table to decide how to proceed.
The only condition now left is the need for government support, CAW's president Buzz Hargrove said in a statement.
The agreement included secure pensions and buyouts and retirement incentives.
The heavy-duty truck assembly plant scheduled to close July 18, was the target of a six-week strike last year by members of the Canadian Auto Workers union demanding it remain open.
Union workers returned to their jobs after Navistar, the No. 3 U.S. truck maker, agreed not to halt production at the plant for at least one year.
However, the two sides never reached an agreement on how to cut $28 million in costs from plant operations, which the company said was needed to make the facility competitive.
The Chatham plant currently produces an average of 35 trucks a day, down from a peak of 120 a day in 1999.
The plan is contingent on obtaining government financial assistance and approval from the company's board of directors.