DETROIT -- Increased executive pay at the Detroit 3, coupled with improving auto sales, has galvanized union opposition to more pay and benefit givebacks, Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers, said last week.
Lewenza said he expects the CAW to make no new concessions before the 2012 expiration of the union's master contract with the Detroit 3.
"I don't see us going into any bargaining between now and 2012 for any reason," Lewenza told Automotive News.
He said union members are "disappointed" that salaried workers at General Motors Co., for example, have had a 3 percent pay cut restored.
Workers also reacted badly to the recent news that GM CEO Ed Whitacre would receive compensation of $9 million in 2010, including a $1.7 million base salary and company stock worth $7.3 million, Lewenza said.
"It's those types of decisions that our members are saying, 'Where's the equal sacrifice?' " he said.
Last year the CAW and the UAW agreed to major concessions to help the Detroit 3 through a cash crisis. The CAW concessions included a pay freeze through 2012, a freeze on cost-of-living allowances and the creation of trusts to shift some of the cost of supplementing national health care from the car companies to union plans.
Lewenza said he has proposed that the Detroit car companies offer retirement incentives to make room for about 1,000 workers apiece at Ford Motor Co., GM and Chrysler Group currently on layoff.
He said he has asked for a standing incentive to be offered to any worker who becomes pension-eligible so he or she can leave to open a spot for a laid-off worker. So far, Lewenza said, none of the automakers has agreed to the plan.