December 3, 2023

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Canadian auto workers approve labor deal with Ford

Canadian auto workers approve labor deal with Ford

Richard Lawtens/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Lana Payne speaks to delegates after being elected as the new president of UNIFOR, Canada’s largest private sector union, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on August 10, 2022.



CNN

Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, Unifor, ratified a tentative three-year agreement with Ford on Sunday after the union reached an 11-hour agreement last week to avoid a potential strike.

The deal was described by Unifor as “exceptional”. Unanimously supported The union said in a press statement, today, Friday, by local union leaders. But despite this support, only 54% of regular members voted to ratify the deal.

Union leadership said the contract was the best deal they could get for members.

“This was an extraordinary round of collective bargaining, which took place at an extraordinary time,” union leadership wrote in a joint letter to members included in the bargaining report. “Auto workers, like all workers, are grappling with an affordability crisis and rising costs. High interest rates are exacerbating economic uncertainty for families. We continue to suffer from a devastating pandemic and damaging supply shortages that have impacted our jobs. Amid these challenges, A once-in-a-century transformation of the automotive sector is coming, which, if done right, will increase Canada’s industrial footprint.

“The autoworkers we have represented at Unifor are the heart of Ford of Canada,” Bev Goodman, CEO of Ford of Canada, said in a statement. “This contract invests in our talented and dedicated employees.”

The terms of the deal could have an impact on negotiations to end the United Auto Workers union’s strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. At the very least, it raises hope that an agreement with Ford could be reached soon.

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Unifor won some key demands that Ford and other automakers have yet to agree to in talks with the UAW, including the return of a pension plan — rather than just 401(k)-style retirement accounts — for Unifor members who were hired at Ford in recent years .

The UAW strike, which began with 12,700 members on September 15, sought to resume traditional retirement plans for employees hired since 2007.

While UAW President Sean Fine said Friday that his union has made progress in negotiations with Ford, he did not mention any progress on the pension issue.

Still, because Ford is making progress In its negotiations on other issues, the UAW continued to limit its strike at Ford to a single assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, while expanding the strike at General Motors and Stellantis to include those companies’ parts and distribution centers.

“We want to recognize that Ford is serious about reaching an agreement,” Fine said Friday.

The UAW said it had no comment on the terms of this weekend’s deal between Unifor and Ford.

In addition to the pension improvements, the Unifor agreement addresses Unifor’s core priorities, including a 10% pay increase in the first year of the agreement, effective September 25, followed by 2% and 3% increases over the next two years of the year. Contract.

The agreement also eliminates the health care deduction for all current and former employees.

cover the deal Nearly 5,700 union members, including 5,300 workers in three factories, and approximately 400 workers distributed among three distribution centers and two offices. If they go on strike, it could affect production of some key Ford models that are made at U.S. plants, as two engine plants in Canada produce V-8 engines used in Ford’s F-150 and Mustang trucks.

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The deal will also be used as a bargaining blueprint for Unifor models and could pave the way for new contracts with Stellantis and GM. Unifor said it will announce soon whether it will negotiate with GM or Stellantis next.

This report has been updated with additional information