Auto workers in Oakville on high alert as talks between Ford and Unifor near midnight deadline


Published September 18, 2023 at 9:00 am

Unifor President Lana Payne

Contract negotiations between Unifor and Ford are progressing but have yet to reach an agreement, with a midnight deadline looming.

Unifor President Lana Payne said “things are moving, but we are certainly not there yet,” during an update Thursday, adding that union negotiators are “meeting resistance” on some critical issues, such as pensions, wages and transition support as the automakers move to electric vehicles/

Pensions are considered the top issue during talks, Payne said.

Ford has submitted two offers to Unifor, both of which the union rejected, and negotiations between Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union with 315,000 members, and GM and Stellantis are in a holding pattern until the union and Oakville-based Ford can strike a deal.

About 18,000 of those unionized workers are employed with the big three automakers.

When that contract is ratified it will be used as a template for talks with Windsor-based Stellantis and Oshawa-based General Motors.

Negotiations with Ford began August 10. Meanwhile, unionized autoworkers with the UAW south of the border are already in a strike position, with thousands of employees walking off the job at a Ford plant in Michigan, a Stellantis plant in Ohio and the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri.

Payne crafted a letter of support to her union brothers and sisters in the U.S., noting it is “never an easy decision” to take strike action.

“We stand in solidarity with UAW members as you exercise your fundamental right to strike,” she said in the letter. “Autoworkers in Canada and North America have a history of setting industry standards that extend past the Detroit Three. What we win at the bargaining table raises the bar for all working people … on both sides of the border.”

inhalton's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising