Thousands of unionized auto workers in Canada will remain on the job after brokering a tentative new contract with Ford Motor Company late Tuesday night.
The automaker’s contract with Unifor – a Canadian trade union representing auto workers, was set to expire on Monday, Sept. 18, but negotiations were extended for 24 hours after Ford made a last-minute proposal to keep the talks going and avoid a strike.
While exact details of the agreement aren’t yet known, improvements to wages and pensions as well as assurances to new investment during the transition to electric vehicles were of the most importance to workers, said key negotiator John D’Agnolo, president of Unifor Local 200 in Windsor.
“We had some things that needed to get done and we made sure we got those four priorities done along with some other stuff because our members needed it,” he said.
Unifor leadership plans to present the tentative deal to rank-and-file members for ratification votes this weekend. The new deal – if ratified by members – would provide the framework for contracts with General Motors and Stellantis, owner of Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, Dodge and Fiat.
Unifor National President Lana Payne says she’s pleased with their deal and hopes it helps lead to an agreement between the Detroit 3 and the United Auto Workers.
“We’re supporting [the UAW] and hopefully this will help them in the end get an agreement as well,” Payne said. “That’s the whole point here, we want all workers to be able to benefit.”