Unifor gets tentative contract with Ford for Canadian autoworkers

The union representing workers for Detroit Three automakers in Canada said late Tuesday it reached a tentative new labor deal with Ford Motor Co., in negotiations that extended past a deadline a night earlier.

The agreement averts a potential strike in Canada of the Dearborn automaker, which is already dealing with pressure connected to the UAW’s labor fight in the U.S. with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, owner of Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat. Unifor had extended its contracts with GM and Stellantis to focus on Ford negotiations.

Unifor National President Lana Payne touted the breadth of the tentative deal, without listing specifics, in a statement released after 9 p.m. The union said it intends to present details on the agreement first to its members for a ratification vote to be set on a date in the near future.

“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,” Payne said. “We believe that this agreement will solidify the foundations on which we will continue to bargain gains for generations of autoworkers in Canada.”

A statement from Steven Majer, vice president of Human Resources for Ford Motor Company of Canada, noted that a deal had been reached with the union on a three-year contract but without offering details.

“To respect the ratification process, Ford of Canada will not discuss the specifics of the tentative agreement,” the statement said.

Unifor set its bargaining priorities in May as pensions, wages, transition plans as autoworkers shift to producing electric vehicles and confirmation of new investment and product lines, but of those, pensions were listed as the top priority, according to recent comments by Payne.

Ford has 5,680 Unifor-represented workers. The largest number of them – 3,400 – work at the company’s Oakville Assembly Plant, which makes the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus, according to the union.

Meanwhile, a strike by about 13,000 members of the United Auto Workers in the United States neared the end of its fifth day Tuesday, with UAW President Shawn Fain threatening to expand the strike on Friday if substantial progress isn’t reached by then.

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