CAW calls strikes at two parts plants in Canada, Wescast, Lear targeted after talks break down

CAW calls strikes at two parts plants in Canada
Wescast, Lear targeted after talks break down
From wire reports
Automotive News | October 28, 2012 – 9:17 am EST
UPDATED: 10/28/12 3:37 pm ET – adds Lear strike coverage

TORONTO — The Canadian Auto Workers launched strikes this weekend at two parts suppliers in Canada, including a key exhaust manifold producer.

Wescast Industries, which supplies exhaust manifolds and other components for cars and light trucks, said union members at the machining plant began a strike on Saturday morning at a plant in Strathroy, Ontario.

Wescast says on its Web site that it has a 51 percent share of the North American exhaust manifold market and a 65 percent share among the Detroit 3 automakers.

“The company has put plans in place to ensure continued supply of parts to customers,” Wescast said in a brief statement.

The Canadian Auto Workers union said in an email to Reuters that 75 workers have walked off the job.

“The contract offer from Wescast seriously compromised our members’ job security,” CAW national representative Jim Woods said in a statement.

“In the last few days, we’ve learned that General Motors intends to move the current work performed at Wescast to a facility in China. There is absolutely no reason that our members should agree to a new contract that undercuts their own jobs.”

The union said it was meeting with members on Sunday to discuss a plan to escalate actions and was operating a 24-hour picket line.

Wescast announced in June it agreed to be bought by China’s Sichuan Bohong Industry Co., but the deal has not yet closed.

Lear plant struck

Meanwhile, workers at Lear Corp.’s seating plant in Whitby, Ontario, went on strike on Sunday with employees and management far apart on a range of issues, the union said. The plant supplies General Motors.

Picket lines went up at midnight after talks collapsed on Saturday, according to the union, which represents some 400 workers at the plant.

The union said the company was asking for “deep concessions” in the contract.

The Whitby factory makes seats for vehicles at the GM plant in neighboring Oshawa, Ontario, just outside of Toronto.

Lear beat Wall Street third-quarter profit and sales expectations when it reported last Friday, on strong sales in North America and Europe.

Lear’s quarterly net income was $121.4 million, or $1.23 per share, compared with $100.7 million, or 95 cents per share, a year earlier. Lear’s sales were $3.54 billion, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

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