Posts tagged UAW

Final Offer

Sturla Gunnarsson and Robert Collison’s documentary on the 1984 contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and General Motors.

This film, which you can stream online here, focuses on Bob White, president of the Canadian section of the UAW, and his attempts to get the rank and file Canadian members of his union on board with the deal he managed to agree with GM. White led the Canadian wing of the UAW out of the international union the following year to form the CAW, and Final Offer highlights many of the tensions between Canadian and American auto workers that led to this split.

The fundamental issue which divides Bob White and his Canadian members from UAW President Owen Bieber here is the traditional 3% annual raise in their hourly wage, but the underlying tensions within the UAW go back to the Automotive Products Agreement, known as the “Auto Pact,” agreed between the United States and Canada in 1965.

Under this treaty, Canada’s car industry based in southern Ontario towns like Oshawa, the setting for much of Final Offer, grew rapidly, but corporate control of Canada’s automotive assembly lines became much more centralized in the Detroit headquarters of the Big 3 car makers.