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Freightliner Sterling still picketing

ST. THOMAS, Ont. -- The Freightliner's Sterling Truck assembly plant is still on the picket lines, and will be unti...

ST. THOMAS, Ont. — The Freightliner’s Sterling Truck assembly plant is still on the picket lines, and will be until a settlement is met.

Richard Laverty, CAW chairman at the Sterling plant, says the union has been very compromising and Freightliner’s first proposal was still quite regressive.

“We didn’t join this union to walk backwards, we joined it not just to make changes in our working life but improvements, and we felt that anything short of that was unacceptable,” says Laverty.

The dispute is surrounding wages and benefits, in particular the issue of off-loading health care costs. In 2002, employees were hit with a five per cent rollback in wages and benefits, and Freightliner now wants to attach a co-payment system to their employee’s benefits packages.

Talks will get underway again on Thursday, and Laverty is confident that things will go well and they will be back to work soon.

“I think that get some movement on the part of the company in terms of this co-payment deal they want to impose on us, I think we are about four hours away from a deal,” says Laverty.

Bargaining took place from Jan. 13 right through to the strike deadline, which was Feb. 20 at midnight.

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