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Ford’s Union Agreement With Unifor Prevents a Canadian Auto Strike

Ford Motor and the Canadian union Unifor reached a tentative agreement covering 5,600 autoworkers in Ontario, Canada, just hours before a strike deadline. The agreement, which still needs to be ratified by members, was announced on the fifth day of targeted strikes by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against Ford and other Detroit automakers. Had Unifor gone on strike, it would have affected Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant, which manufactures Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers, as well as two engine plants producing V8 engines used in products like the Ford F-Series pickups and Mustang muscle cars.

Details of the agreement were not immediately released, but it addresses issues raised by union members during collective bargaining preparations. Lana Payne, the national president of Unifor, stated that the agreement will lay the foundation for continued negotiations to benefit generations of autoworkers in Canada.

Unifor’s approach to negotiations differed from that of its U.S. counterpart, the UAW. Unifor selected Ford as its “target” company rather than bargaining with all three automakers simultaneously. It also announced a traditional national strike, if necessary, instead of targeted strikes.

Unifor represents 18,000 Canadian autoworkers at Detroit automakers. Once the agreement’s details are shared with members, a vote will take place. If ratified, the deal will set a pattern for negotiations with GM and Stellantis.

With the Canadian situation resolved, Ford will now focus on negotiations with the UAW. Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW, warned that additional strikes at U.S. plants would be announced if “serious progress” is not made in negotiations by noon ET on Friday. Currently, UAW members are on strike at plants run by GM, Ford, and Stellantis, affecting roughly 12,700 workers across the three automakers.