Canadian auto workers have overwhelmingly rejected the wage and benefit concessions that American employees gave to US automakers.
''We have chosen not to ride on the coattails of our US brothers and sisters, '' Robert White, United Automobile Workers Canadian director, said after 400 UAW delegates voted unanimously over the weekend against making concessions in contract talks this summer.
''We will chart a different course in 1982 and beyond,'' he said.
Mr. White said he hoped a strike could be averted, but vowed ''to meet the confrontation head-on'' if the automakers insist on demanding the concessions they got in the United States.
The delegates, representatives of the UAW's 130,000 Canadian members, met to set goals for contract talks with the Big Three automakers, scheduled to begin in July.
UAW workers in the US recently agreed to concessions at General Motors Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler Corporation. The concessions include a wage freeze, deferral of cost-of-living allowance payments, and loss of paid personal holidays.