The 24-hour deadline extension seems to have worked: a likely strike by auto workers in Canada has been avoided after Unifor reached a tentative deal with Ford, the union’s main bargaining target as part of labour talks with Detroit’s Big Three.
The deal, which must now be ratified by the 5,600 members at Canadian Ford facilities, covers the Oakville Assembly Plant, Annex and Essex Engine Plants in Windsor, Ontario in addition to Parts Distribution Centres in Bramalea, Paris and Casselman in Ontario and Leduc, Alberta.
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Specifics will only be disclosed after Unifor members vote to ratify the agreement, which should take place within the next few days. Ford Canada has not commented on the deal yet, but its latest offer was deemed “substantive” by the union.
Unifor president Lana Payne said the tentative agreement addresses all of the items raised by members in preparation for this round of collective bargaining.
“We believe that this agreement will solidify the foundations on which we will continue to bargain gains for generations of autoworkers in Canada,” she added.
Wage increases, job security amid plant retooling, pensions and other benefits were all part of the talks. According to a few sources, the union was demanding more than 20 percent wage increases.
South of the border, the United Auto Workers (UAW) launched a targeted strike just after midnight last Friday. They appear to be still far from reaching a deal with the automakers.
Three plants employing nearly 12,700 unionized workers are currently idled, namely Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant (Ford Ranger and Bronco), GM’s Wentzville, Missouri plant (Chevrolet Colorado and Express, GMC Canyon and Savana), and Stellantis’ Toledo, Ohio plant (Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator).
UAW president Shawn Fain has made it clear that the strike will expand this Friday if talks fail, telling the 146,000 UAW members working for Ford, GM and Stellantis to stay ready for a strike.