CAW workers pass strike mandates in Big Three contract talks

TORONTO — Hourly workers at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford plants in Canada have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike to back their contract demands, according to their union.The Canadian Auto Workers union says Chrysler workers have voted 99% in favour of strike action if necessary.The vote was almost as strong at General Motors, where 98% backed strike action, and at Ford, where the vote was 97%.[np-related /]The voting was conducted at a number of meetings over the last week and this past weekend, CAW said in a news release.“Our members support their bargaining committees and trust them to negotiate a fair settlement that shares in the success of the companies,” union president Ken Lewenza said in statement.Negotiations with the North American auto companies resume Monday in Toronto.The union is looking to share in improving financial position of the Big Three after making concessions during the recession.However, the automakers are looking to pare costs labour costs in Canada, which they say are higher than in the United States.The last CAW strike was in 1996, against General Motors. The current contract expires Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m. read more