Unifor targets Ford for pattern negotiation

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by Emily Atkins

Unifor has selected Ford Motor Company as the target automaker to set the pattern agreement in the union’s negotiations with the Detroit Three.

“Ford was selected as the target because we believe that the company is in the best position to reach an agreement that delivers on the needs of our members and sets a strong pattern for Canada’s auto industry,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne.

“These negotiations are about reaching an agreement that reflects the historic nature of the transition to electric vehicle manufacturing. That means setting the highest possible standards that protect the livelihoods and job security of all autoworkers now and in the future.”

Unifor represents 5,680 Ford members at the Oakville Assembly Plant, Annex Engine Plant, Essex Engine Plant, Bramalea and Paris Parts Distribution Centres, Casselman Parts Distribution Centre, Edmonton Parts Distribution Centre, and office and clerical workers in Windsor and Bramalea.

“Our bargaining team is up to the monumental task of going first in these precedent-setting negotiations,” said John D’Agnolo, Unifor Ford Master Bargaining Chair. “Our membership is united behind us to negotiate a framework for improved pensions, wages, and issues related to the EV transition.”

Unifor opened negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers, Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, on August 10, 2023. The union will now focus on negotiations with Ford in the lead up to the contract expiry of September 18 at 11:59 p.m. Unifor autoworkers voted almost unanimously in support of strike action if an agreement is not reached.

A collective agreement with Ford, once reached and ratified, will set the pattern for contract terms and conditions with  GM and Stellantis.

“Our strategy is about reaching the best possible deal and giving our bargaining teams the best possible conditions to have all of our members’ key demands met whether they work for Ford, General Motors or Stellantis,” said James Stewart, Unifor Stellantis Master Bargaining Chair.

“The deal we reach with Ford will set the industry benchmark that we fully expect the other D3 automakers to adhere to. We’re ready to get the job done and target each company in the order that is most strategically advantageous to all of our members,” said Jason Gale, Unifor General Motors Master Bargaining Chair.

Unifor is negotiating on behalf of 18,000 autoworkers at Ford, GM and Stellantis in this round of bargaining.