Canadian suppliers, workers at Oakville Ford plant could be affected by U.S. strike

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Published September 15, 2023 at 3:28 pm

Ford plant, electric vehicles, layoffs, delay, Unifor, union
Some 3,200 workers at the Ford plant in Oakville are facing a layoff of up to nearly four years during the switch to EVs and the worker's union said it is doing all it can to minimize the impact to employees. INSAUGA PHOTO

A strike by U.S. autoworkers south of the border could affect Canadian suppliers and workers at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Complex.

Some 13,000 workers from the big three U.S. auto companies went on strike Friday after they failed to reach a new contract and that could impact auto workers here in Ontario and Oakville.

The auto industry in both Canada and the United States is deeply integrated as both countries rely on auto parts criss-crossing the border before they are assembled into completed new vehicles.

While the strike has yet to have had any impact, it could if the strike continues for some time.

“It’s likely that in a couple weeks, if the strike were to hold up, it will affect a bunch of small companies on both sides of the border.” Sam Fiorani, vice president of Global Vehicle Forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, told the Associated Press.

Members of the United Auto Workers union began picketing at a General Motors assembly plant in Wentzville, Mo., a Ford factory in Wayne, Mich., near Detroit, and a Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio.

“As of today, with these plants shut down, it’s not an immediate hit, but it could be quite soon,” Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association president Flavio Volpe told Canadian Press.

“If we see an expanded shutdown or a prolonged strike, it’s going have an effect for sure on volume production, on lines at Canadian parts suppliers.”

The strike south of the border comes as Canadian union Unifor, which represents Ford workers in Oakville, holds contract talks in Canada with the U.S. automakers.

The current contract is set to expire on Monday (Sept. 18).

  • With files from Canadian Press and Associated Press
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