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Unifor and Ford reach tentative deal, averting strike

Unifor and Ford have reached collective bargaining agreements, averting a strike that would have put about 5,600 Canadian workers on picket lines and providing a road map for thousands of other auto workers at General Motors and Stellantis.

Unifor National President Lana Payne said the deal addresses membership concerns.

“We believe this agreement will strengthen the foundation on which we will continue to negotiate gains for generations of Canadian auto workers,” he said in a statement shortly after 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The agreement was reached a day after the collective agreement with Ford employees expired.

“Financial Security”

Neither the union nor Ford offered specifics on what the tentative deal would entail, as members have yet to vote on it.

However, Unifor Ford Master Bargaining President John D’Anolo said the deal “delivers the kind of gains our members need today and adds greater financial security for the future.”

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Ford Motor Company’s largest Canadian plant is located in Oakville, Ont., where the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are manufactured.

It also has two engine plants in the Windsor-Essex region of Southwestern Ontario and parts distribution centers in Leduc, Alta., and several other locations in Ontario.

The negotiations of the car contract started in August. In an update to members last Thursday, Unifor said it rejected two previous offers from Ford.

In addition to pensions and wages, Unifor said it is seeking a deal that offers electric vehicle (EV) transition support and additional investment with Ford.

A template for future negotiations

While negotiations are underway with Ford, the union is ultimately seeking new collective bargaining agreements for members who work at each of the Detroit Three automakers.

The Ford deal will become a template for negotiations with the other two automakers, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis, known as model deals.

The Ford deal comes amid a historic strike by U.S. auto workers, with UAW members in each of Detroit’s three unions on the picket line for the first time, although the strike affects only a fraction of U.S. plants.

The union said it was 36 percent salary increase in four years.

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