After a long negotiation process, Unifor members at Ford Motor Co. of Canada have approved the tentative collective agreement that was reached on September 19 between the union and the automaker. The agreement, which will be in effect for three years, was unanimously endorsed by Unifor’s auto bargaining committee and will bring significant improvements to the workers’ wages and pensions. Furthermore, Ford has committed to expanding production at one of its powertrain plants in Windsor, Ontario, with the expansion expected to begin in 2025.
During a 24-hour voting period on Saturday and Sunday, 5,600 Unifor members working at Ford facilities across Canada cast their ballots, with 54 percent voting in favor of the agreement. Unifor President Lana Payne expressed her satisfaction with the contract, noting that the union’s bargaining team worked tirelessly to secure a deal that would have a profound impact on the workers’ lives. The contract includes notable improvements to pension plans, provisions to protect workers during the shift towards electric vehicles, and the highest wage increases ever negotiated in the Canadian auto industry.
The positive effects of this agreement will be felt immediately by the workers.
Immediate Wage Increases and Long-Term Growth
The new collective agreement signed by Ford and its workers brings significant salary increases for both long-time and new employees. Workers with four or more years at the company will see their hourly wages rise by 13.6 percent overnight, with a new wage of C$42.39 per hour ($31.42 USD), including a C$1.21 per hour cost-of-living allowance fold-in. Additionally, the deal includes two- and three-percent wage increases at the beginning of the second and third years, respectively. By the end of the third year, top-end production pay will reach C$44.52 per hour, which is a 19 percent increase compared to the previous contract.
New workers are the biggest beneficiaries of the new agreement, seeing their starting wages immediately increase by 22 percent to C$29.67 per hour from C$24.26. This translates to an hourly rate of C$31.16 by the third year of the contract, which is a 28.5 percent increase compared to the previous collective agreement. Moreover, the revised contract reduces the growth timeline for new hires to reach full pay by half, from eight years to four years, enabling new employees to climb the wage grid more quickly. Overall, the deal is a win-win for both Ford and its workers, providing fair compensation and incentives for long-time employees while attracting new talent with competitive wages and faster growth opportunities.
Unifor had made pension improvements a priority in their bargaining negotiations, and the ratified deal has fulfilled their objective. From January 1, 2025, members who were formerly on defined contribution (DC) pension plans will now benefit from superior defined benefits (DB) plans. The current DC plans had Ford contributing 4 percent of an employee’s earnings up to 2,080 hours to the plan, but the DB plan will now see the automaker contributing 7 percent of earnings. The employees will still contribute 4 percent of their earnings to the plans, which will result in stronger retirement benefits for Unifor members.
Ford Canada CEO Bev Goodman has expressed her confidence in the contract, stating that it will continue to support the company’s Canadian operations. She emphasized that the deal invests in talented and dedicated employees who play a critical role in assembling vehicles, building engines and components, improving customer satisfaction, and expediting parts delivery service to more than 400 dealers. The agreement also includes a 15 percent general wage increase, which is the largest uplift in Ford of Canada’s history, according to the company. This development is a significant milestone for Unifor members, as they can now look forward to a brighter future with improved retirement benefits and a higher income.
Unifor Gains Amid Labor Tension
Unifor, the Canadian labor union has made significant progress in their negotiations with Ford. This achievement comes at a time when there is a high level of tension in the labor market, both in Canada and the United States. While Ford workers in Canada have a new contract in place that runs until September 20, 2026, their counterparts at the Detroit 3 in the U.S. are still partially on strike. Unifor’s strategy is to use the gains they achieved with Ford in their negotiations with other automakers, such as GM and Stellantis, as part of their patterned bargaining approach. The union has not yet announced which automaker they plan to target next.