Unifor targets auto OEM as labour negotiations heat up
Ford picked as the template agreement. Union is pushing for commitments that new products will be made at Canadian plants.
TORONTO — The union that represents Canadian auto workers has picked Ford as a potential strike target in contract talks this year. Unifor’s contracts with all three Detroit automakers expires at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 21.
Unifor president Jerry Dias said the union wants product commitments for Ford’s assembly plant in Oakville, Ont., near Toronto. Production of the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus SUVs ends at the plant in 2023. Dias said Ford hasn’t made any future product commitments.
Unifor is looking for job security and commitments including electric vehicles. The basics of a three-year deal with Ford would then apply to the other two companies, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors.
Dias said Canada has no commitments to build electric vehicles and has dropped from the fourth-largest vehicle maker in 1999 to No. 12 currently.
In addition to product commitments, the union also will focus on wages and benefits, he said.
The talks, which take place every four years, come as Ford employees face expiring product lines in Oakville, Ont., while Fiat Chrysler workers have seen shift cuts in Windsor, Ont. and Brampton, Ont.