Union working to minimize delay of Oakville Ford plant’s switch to EVs


Published April 25, 2024 at 5:22 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

Ford worker’s union Unifor said it is working on efforts to minimize the impact of the announced delay in the shift to electric vehicles at the Oakville Assembly Plant.

Earlier this month, Ford announced production of the Ford Explorer EV, which will be built locally, and the next-generation Ford F-150 would be held up at the Oakville plant to focus instead on building smaller all-electric vehicles.

It was first expected the local plant’s 3,200 union workers would be laidoff for six to eight months, but now the retooling process is expected to take anywhere from two-and-a-half years to three-and-a-half years.

News that the unions said they or the workers didn’t want to hear.

“We have not taken any of this lightly,” Unifor said in a statement. “The minute we received word of the change in plans, we got to work. The union communicated its disappointment and frustration to the company, including directly to CEO Jim Farley.

“We reminded Ford executives that there is a lot at stake in this transition to future electric vehicle production, not the least of which are the good jobs you, the members, and your families expect and deserve. This message we delivered was heard loud and clear.”

The auto union says its priority is to address the challenges the extension in the delay will create for its members. Talk between Unifor and Ford has continued since early April.

“The union continues to explore ways to lessen the impact on your pay and job security for this extended downtime – building on the protections negotiated with Ford in our 2023 collective agreement,” Unifor told its workers. “Our approach to these conversations is multi-layered. We are exploring all options, including on enhanced income security, new work opportunities and, of course, shortening the retool timeline.

“We are also having regular conversations with government, leveraging all we can to resolve this issue for the members. More meetings are scheduled, and discussions are ongoing. As soon as there is information to share, we will share it.”

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