Canadian labor union Unifor will announce which of the Detroit Big Three it will enter contract negotiations with early next week.
Typically in U.S. and Canadian automotive labor negotiations, the initial contract is used as a framework for the subsequent two contracts. Unions will typically choose the automaker that it has the closest or best relationship with, as the company is more likely to address the union’s various concerns and issues. According to City News, Unifor is looking for reassurance with regard to job security and new product allocations, along with stronger pay and/or bonuses for its members.
Earlier this week, Unifor announced that its members voted overwhelmingly in support of taking strike action of any of the Detroit Big Three do not agree to their demands. The strike deadline is September 21st at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Unifor represents 4,100 General Motors workers, which is the smallest hourly workforce of any of the Detroit Big Three in Canada. The union also represents around 6,300 Ford workers and 9,000 Fiat Chrysler workers.
The Canadian automotive manufacturing industry has gone through hard times in recent years, raising the stakes for the 2020 contract negotiation. GM shut down its Oshawa Assembly plant late last year, laying off 2,200 workers in the process. There have also been rumors that Ford will shut down its Oakville Assembly plant in the near future, which currently builds the Ford Edge. Ford canned the next-generation Edge crossover out of fear that it would step on the toes of other new crossover and SUV products like the Bronco Sport and has not announced any replacement products for Oakville yet.
Speaking to the Toronto Sun earlier this year, Unifor president Jerry Dias said the Ford Edge announcement “came out of left field,” and that the union was not expecting it.
The only manufacturing facility GM currently operates in Canada is its CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, which builds the Chevrolet Equinox. The automaker also operates a cold weather testing centre in northern Ontario, two technical centers in southern Ontario and is building a new test track in Oshawa.