Oakville-based Ford, Unifor, still talking after contract deadline extended 24 hours


Published September 19, 2023 at 9:57 am

Ford plant Oakville layoffs vehicle

Ford and Unifor, the union representing more than 5,000 autoworkers in Oakville and Windsor, have agreed to extend talks another 24 hours after the union received a “substantive offer” just before the midnight Monday deadline.

The auto giant said in a statement it would continue to work “collaboratively” with the union to try to create “a blueprint for the automotive industry that supports a vibrant and sustainable future in Canada.”

Unifor, however, was slightly less optimistic, with union President Lana Payne telling members the two sides are still far apart on some key issues and to “continue to maintain strike readiness.”

The contract between Ford and its unionized workers was set to expire Monday night at midnight, four days after talks broke down south of the border between Big Three automakers Ford, General Motors and Stellantis and the United Autoworkers (UAW).

This is the first time the UAW has targeted all three US automakers at the same time during contract negotiation, though the union decided to allow just one plant for each company to go on strike, leaving most of the 145,000 unionized auto workers in the USA still working.

If Unifor and Ford fail to reach a deal in Canada, however, strikes will happen at all Ford facilities. The majority of Ford workers in Canada are employed at the Oakville assembly plant and head office in Oakville, which has 3,550 unionized employees.

It’s business as usual at GM plants in Oshawa, St. Catharines and Ingersoll and at Stellantis plants in Windsor while the union tries to reach a deal with Ford.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to reaching an agreement in Canada is how the automakers will protect jobs during the transition to electric vehicles, with the companies committed to all-electric production by 2035.

Other key issues include wages and pension benefits.

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