Unifor has announced Ford as the bargaining target amid ongoing labor contract negotiations with the Big Three Detroit automakers, including GM, Ford, and Stellantis. The announcement was made earlier on Tuesday by Unifor National President Lana Payne during a press conference in Toronto. Unifor members at each of the Big Three have voted overwhelmingly in favor of strike authorization. Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada.
During the media conference, Payne laid out the four core economic issues that were identified by the Unifor auto council in May, which include pensions, a strong wage package, investments, and a support system for the EV transition. In presenting these issues, Unifor says that it was able to gauge which automaker was best aligned with Unifor’s goals for contract negotiations.
“Back on August 10th, I did something a little different,” Payne said. “I shared with all of you, with the media, and our members, my initial thoughts that I was strongly considering Ford Motor Company as the potential target.”
Payne went on to say that Ford presented the clearest path forward, citing EV retooling efforts, transparency, and Ford’s public statements on leading in the move towards electric vehicles.
“I’ve concluded that the best opportunity for our union’s 18,000 members in the auto sector to achieve our bargaining objectives is with Ford Motor Company,” Payne said.
On Sunday, Unifor announced that union members had voted to authorize potential strike mandates after pausing contract negotiations between the automakers and union leadership in order to hold strike votes. The voting results were overwhelmingly in favor of strike authorization, with GM members voting 99 percent in favor, Ford members voting 98.9 percent in favor, and Stellantis members voting 98.1 percent in favor. The current labor contracts are set to expire at 11:50 p.m. pm September 18th, 2023. Formal negotiations between Unifor and the Big Three began on August 10th, 2023.
“Our bargaining teams are set to resume negotiations with the unwavering support of Unifor members across the auto sector,” Payne said after announcing the voting results. “Make no mistake, our union is fully prepared to take any and all necessary action to achieve our collective bargaining objectives.”