Ford Motor and Canadian Union Unifor Reach Tentative Deal to Avoid Strikes

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Ford Motor and Unifor Reach Tentative Deal, Avoiding Strike

After six weeks of negotiations, Ford Motor and Canadian union Unifor have reached a tentative agreement, avoiding a potential strike by 5,600 autoworkers in Ontario. The negotiations ended just before the extended deadline on Tuesday night, following Ford’s last-minute proposal on Monday. This deal comes amidst ongoing strikes by the United Auto Workers union against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

The accord marks the first strike by Canadian auto workers against Ford in 33 years and highlights the less confrontational negotiations between the Detroit 3 and Canadian auto workers. Unifor had emphasized throughout the talks that improved pensions and wages, along with enhanced job security during upcoming retooling periods, were essential. It is reported that Unifor sought a substantial wage increase of over 20 percent and that pensions were a major sticking point in the negotiations.

The specific details of the tentative agreement have not been revealed yet, but Unifor National President Lana Payne said, “We believe that this tentative agreement, endorsed by the entire master bargaining committee, addresses all of the items raised by members in preparation for this round of collective bargaining.” The agreement is expected to provide a strong foundation for future bargaining and gains for autoworkers in Canada.

While the tentative agreement is subject to approval from rank-and-file union members at Ford workplaces in Canada, it indicates a different path for Unifor’s 2023 bargaining talks compared to those in the U.S. With the deal in place, and Ford Motor successfully avoids labor strikes on the U.S.-Canada border.

Tentative Agreement Reached:

The agreement between Ford and Unifor was reached on the fifth day of the United Auto Workers union’s targeted strikes against Ford, GM, and Stellantis. A potential strike by Unifor would have affected Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant and two engine plants.

Details of the Agreement:

The specifics of the agreement have not been disclosed by Ford or Unifor. However, Lana Payne, the national president of the union, has stated that the agreement addresses all of the concerns raised by the members. Unifor plans to share the details with its members soon, followed by a vote. If ratified, this deal will serve as a pattern for bargaining with GM and Stellantis.

Next Steps:

Ford will shift its focus to negotiations with the UAW. Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW, has warned that additional strikes will be announced at U.S. plants if substantial progress is not made by Friday. Currently, around 12,700 UAW workers are on strike at GM’s plant in Missouri, Ford’s plant in Michigan, and Stellantis’ plant in Ohio.