Contract negotiations between Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada, and Ford Motor Company are progressing, but have yet to reach an equitable agreement, according to Unifor President Lana Payne. Unifor announced Ford as the bargaining target in labor contract negotiations with the Big Three Detroit automakers late last month. Unifor’s current collective agreements are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 18th.
“If I was to summarize the status of talks with Ford right now, I would say things are moving, but we are certainly not there yet,” Payne said during an information session on Thursday.
“Look, we have been crystal clear to all three companies. We told them we expected them to come to the table with an offer that reflects the value of our members and their employees,” Payne added. “Yes, we are having constructive dialogue, and we are making progress in certain areas, but I want you to know, we are meeting resistance from Ford on priority issues for our members.”
Payne indicated that Ford has submitted two economic offers to Unifor, both of which the union rejected. Some of the top priorities for the union include pensions, wages, EV transition support, and investments. Pensions are considered the top issue among members.
For now, negotiations between Unifor and the other two Detroit automakers, GM and Stellantis, are on hold until Unifor can ratify a tentative agreement with Ford. The agreement found between Unifor and Ford will then be used as the pattern in negotiations with GM and Stellantis. The current contract talks affect roughly 18,000 Canadian workers, including union members at Ford, GM, and Stellantis.
Unifor launched negotiations on August 10th. The recent update from Unifor President Payne preceded ongoing strikes currently underway by members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union in the U.S., where workers have walked out at the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri, Ford’s Michigan Wayne Assembly Plant in Michigan, and the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio.