- Ford avoided having to contend with labor strikes on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border Tuesday night, announcing a tentative deal with Canadian union Unifor covering 5,600 automaker workers.
- The two sides announced the agreement, which must still be ratified by members, hours before an extended deadline of 11:59pm on Tuesday.
- Ford and Unifor declined to immediately disclose details of the agreement.
Lana Payne speaks to delegates after being elected president of UNIFOR, Canada’s largest private sector union, at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on August 10, 2022.
Richard Lawtens | toronto star | Getty Images
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. avoided having to contend with labor strikes on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border Tuesday night, as the automaker and Canadian union Unifor announced a tentative agreement covering 5,600 auto workers in the country’s Ontario province.
The Detroit automaker and the union announced the agreement — which still must be ratified by members — hours before an extended 11:59 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. The two sides extended the talks for 24 hours following Ford’s last-minute proposal to Unifor on Monday evening.
The Canadian tentative agreement was reached on the fifth day the United Auto Workers union launched targeted strikes against Ford and city rivals such as General Motors and Stellantis, Chrysler’s parent company.
The Unifor strike would have affected Ford’s Oakville assembly plant, which produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers, as well as two engine plants that produce V8 engines used in key products such as the Ford F-Series trucks and the powerful Mustang.
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Ford and Unifor declined to immediately disclose details of the agreement, which Lana Payne, the union’s national president, said “addresses all of the items raised by members in preparation for this round of collective bargaining.”
“We believe this agreement will strengthen the foundations on which we will continue to bargain for gains for generations of auto workers in Canada,” she said. In the current situation Tuesday night.
Unifor, which represents 18,000 Canadian workers at automakers in Detroit, took a more traditional approach to its negotiations compared to its American counterpart. The Canadian union chose Ford as the “target” company rather than follow the UAW’s new strategy of bargaining with the three automakers. It also announced a traditional national strike, if necessary, instead of a targeted strike.
The union is expected to publish details of the agreement to members in the coming days, followed by a vote. If the deal is ratified, it will be used as a model for Unifor to negotiate with GM and Stellantis.
Ford will now focus on its talks with the UAW. Sean Fine, the union’s president, said Monday that the union would announce additional strikes at U.S. factories if Detroit automakers don’t make “serious progress” in negotiations by noon EDT Friday.
There are currently approximately 12,700 UAW workers on strike at GM’s midsize truck plant and large truck plant in Wentzville, Missouri. Ford Ranger midsize and Bronco SUVs are manufactured in Wayne, Michigan; and Stellantis’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator plant in Toledo, Ohio.
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