Canadian Auto Workers union employees at General Motors approve a new 4-year labor contract, leaving Chrysler workers to endorse their tentative deal.

Ford’s CAW members ratified their tentative contract over the weekend.

CAW workers at GM facilities in Oshawa, St. Catherines and Woodstock, ON, Canada, endorsed their collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday and Thursday by 73%. Union workers at GM’s Ingersoll, ON, assembly plant negotiate contacts independently.

Ford’s CAW contingent ratified their contract with 82% voting in favor of the deal. Chrysler, which took the longest of the Detroit Three to match a pattern agreement set out by the Ford talks, will hold ratification votes this weekend.

“Pattern bargaining allows the CAW to concentrate its collective strength on one company at a time and create a level playing field on compensation that extends throughout the auto industry,” CAW President Ken Lewenza says in a statement.

Earlier in the summer, it was unclear if the CAW would stick to its tradition of pattern bargaining, because the scale of the Canadian operations at Chrysler, Ford and GM are vastly different than just a few years ago.

But at the 11th hour, the CAW struck a tentative agreement with Ford calling for a pivotal cost-cutting 2-tier wage structure, where new hires earn less than veteran employees over a 10-year period, in return for investment pledges.

The GM deal nearly mirrors Ford’s, including what the CAW characterizes as a “$3,000 quality and productivity bonus” after ratification. But “lump-sum cost-of-living payouts” of $2,000 to each member in 2013, 2014 and 2015 appear to take the place of 2-tier wage. The CAW says it also won pension protection in both deals.

David Wenner, director of labour relations at GM Canada, says in a statement: “We appreciate the frank and straightforward dialogue with our CAW partners during this round of negotiations. Since 2009, GM has announced significant product allocation and investments in our Canadian manufacturing facilities demonstrating our commitment to Canada.

“Throughout the next four years, we will continue to leverage our partnership with the CAW to identify opportunities to enhance the competitiveness of our Canadian operations.”

GM’s commitments to Canada include hiring a third shift for its Oshawa facility, which would create, maintain or extend 1,750 jobs.

The CAW says 72% of production-line workers voted in favor of the contract, while 79% of skilled-trade employees approved the deal.

The CAW represents 8,000 GM employees in the country and a total of 21,000 workers at Detroit Three operations.

jamend@wardsauto.com