Canada’s Unifor has passed a tentative three-year contract with U.S. automaker Ford on Sunday. The deal was reached just in time last week to avoid a possible strike.
The recently approved three-year contract covers more than 5,600 workers at Ford facilities in Canada. Unifor Ford members cast a ballot 54% in agreement with the new deal, a news release stated.
This includes 5,300 workers at three plants, and almost 400 workers spread across three distribution centres and two offices. In the event of a strike, it might have impacted production for some of Ford’s key models made at U.S. plants, since two motor plants in Canada produce the V-8 motors used in Ford F-150 pickups and Mustangs.
The new agreement terminates on Sept 20, 2026.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and addresses 315,000 workers in each significant region of the economy. The union advocates for every working individual and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and endeavours to make changes for a better future.
The deal was collectively endorsed by the leadership of the local unions and Unifor called it “exceptional”.
The union leadership said the agreement was the best arrangement they could get for their members.
The union’s leadership wrote in a joint message to individuals included in the bargaining report that it was a phenomenal round of “collective bargaining” occurring in an “extraordinary time”.
“Autoworkers, like all workers, are gripped by an affordability crisis and rising costs. High interest rates are fueling economic uncertainty for families. We are still reeling from a devastating pandemic and damaging supply shortages that have affected our jobs.
Amid these difficulties comes a once-in-a-century auto area change that, if done well, will develop Canada’s industrial footprint.
Bev Goodman, CEO of Ford of Canada, said in a statement, “Our Unifor-represented autoworkers are the heart of Ford of Canada. This contract invests in our talented and dedicated employees.”
Ford expressed late on Sunday that it has “significant gaps to close” on key economic issues to arrive at another new deal with the UAW.
The UAW on Friday extended its strikes against General Motors and Chrysler-parent Stellantis to 38 sections distribution centres across the U.S. However, it did not add new Ford facilities citing “real progress” in talks with the automaker.
The terms of the agreement could affect discussions to end the strike by the UAW against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. In any event, it raises trust that an arrangement could be close with Ford.
Unifor won a few key demands that Ford and different automakers still can’t seem to consent to in discussions with the UAW, including a return of a pension plan for Unifor members employed at Ford as of late.
The UAW strike, which started with 12,700 individuals on Sep 15, has looked for a resumption of conventional pension plans for people employed since 2007. While UAW President Shawn Fain said Friday his union has gained ground in negotiations with Ford, he referenced no advancement on the pension plan.
The UAW did not comment on the terms of the deal this weekend between Unifor and Ford. The agreement eliminates the health care deductible for all current and former employees.
Unifor may use this deal as a blueprint for negotiations with General Motors and Stellantis for new agreements.