Unlikely allies team up

Magna and CAW sign historic labour deal
By Lesley Young
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/16/2007

It was a stunning reversal in the labour relations world. After maintaining a mostly union-free workplace for more than 50 years, Aurora, Ont.-based automotive parts giant Magna International announced a peace agreement last month with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) that will facilitate unionization of 18,000 employees at 45 Magna plants in Ontario.

The agreement, known as the “Framework of Fairness Agreement” (FFA) is essentially a blueprint for a CAW-Magna national collective agreement containing innovative elements, according to labour relations experts, who could only speculate on the make-nice motives of Frank Stronach, Magna’s 75-year-old founder and chairman of the board of directors.

“Magna and the CAW share an important mutual goal, which is to bring about changes necessary to support the Canadian automotive industry in becoming more competitive in the global marketplace,” Magna spokesperson Tracy Fuerst told