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The Canadian Auto Workers said the huge profit reported Tuesday by General Motors Corp. will only strengthen the resolve of the union's 26,000 striking workers to fight contracting out of their jobs.

CAW President Buzz Hargrove said GM's $1.3 billion profit in the third quarter of 1996 was proof that the automaker did not need to contract out more work to remain competitive.

"(The profit) is another supporting argument as to why General Motors can well afford what we are proposing in 1996," Hargrove told reporters during a break in languid bargaining. "This will certainly stiffen or strengthen the resolve of our membership and our union that we're absolutely right on this issue. This is not a struggling corporation."

GM Tuesday reported a $1.3 billion third-quarter profit that was boosted by strong automotive results and an unusually low income tax rate. The world's largest automaker said the combined net income of its North American Automotive Operations and its Delphi Automotive Systems parts businesses was $515 million. A year ago, the operations had a combined loss of $93 million, while the parent company posted a profit of $396.7 million.

The earnings, equal to $1.57 a share, compared with a profit of 39 cents a share from continuing operations. They do not include results from Electronic Data Systems Corp, which GM spun off in June. Revenues climbed to $39.1 billion from $35.3 billion in the 1995 period.

GM Canada spokesman Stew Low Low said the automaker's profits did not change GM's position in the negotiations, which continued Tuesday after a weekend lull.

Hargrove said despite meeting with GM Canada chief negotiator Dean Munger several times over the weekend for what Hargrove called "serious talks," no progress had been made and there was nothing to indicate that a break would come this week.

Hargrove said there was no reason for GM to be punishing its Canadian workers, who were responsible for a disproportionate amount of the automaker's profit. "Our best estimate is that over $300 million of that profit, in other words almost 25 percent of it, was made in Canada, on less than 10 percent of GM's automotive work force," said Hargrove. "This is the thanks we get for that."

GM's workers began their walkout shortly before midnight Oct. 2 and all Canadian operations have been idle since Oct. 9.

GM said the number of its workers in the United States and Mexico affected by a two-week strike in Canada increased to 10,187 Tuesday as it partially shut down six more Mexican parts plants.

An additional 4,385 workers were affected at the plants, which are operated by GM's Delphi Automotive Systems parts subsidiary in Mexico, company spokeswoman Cheryl Kilborn said.

No additional U.S. plant slowdowns or closures were announced, but more are expected the longer the strike continues.

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