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Report: CAW Close To 'Unique' Deal With GM

Toronto Star reports the Canadian Auto Workers union is close to reaching a resolution in a bitter dispute over the pending shutdown of GM’s truck plant in Ontario.

TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Star is reporting the Canadian Auto Workers union is close to reaching a "unique" resolution with General Motors in a bitter dispute over the pending shutdown of the company's truck plant in Oshawa, Ont.

Peter Kennedy, a senior CAW official responsible for GM, told the Star on Wednesday that company and union negotiators are working on a settlement that is different from other agreements relating to plant shutdowns.

CAW Local 222 filed a grievance early last month over the plant closing that triggered a high-profile blockade of the company's Canadian headquarters in Oshawa and threats of more disruptions.

GM, the country's biggest automaker, submitted a proposal in late June and the two sides have been quietly meeting in recent weeks in efforts to resolve the grievance.

Kennedy says the talks have gone beyond early retirement incentives and monetary sweeteners for workers to quit -- common tools to reduce or eliminate layoffs when an auto plant closes.

Kennedy would not disclose any details of the "unique" provisions until workers see them at membership meetings, possibly during the next few weeks.

"It would be different than what we've done in the past. I think people will be happy with this result."

A spokesperson for GM of Canada Ltd. could not be reached for comment on the status of talks. Earlier, the company said it considered the discussions "private."

GM shocked the union in early June by announcing it would close the award-winning truck plant and cut more than 2,000 jobs during the second half of next year because soaring gasoline prices had led to a collapse in pickup sales in North America.

That came only two weeks after the CAW and GM had agreed to a three-year contract where the union accepted millions of dollars in concessions in exchange for product commitments at the Oshawa complex, including a new generation of pickups.

The contract also contained a provision that called on GM to consult with the union for alternatives if the company considered a closure.

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