A majority of Ford’s nearly-7,000 hourly workers represented by Unifor in Canada might block the ratification of a new labor agreement between the automaker and Canada’s largest private-sector labor union.
Unifor Local 707 President Dave Thomas said earlier in October that Ford’s 5,000-strong workforce at the Oakville Assembly Complex, where the Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX, and Lincoln MKT are built, weren’t likely to vote in favor of a deal similar to the one the union reached with General Motors. Fiat Chrysler workers have since ratified a new labor deal guaranteeing wage increases, a new benefit plan for new workers, and more than $250 million US in product investments.
Yet, according to Automotive News, Ford workers remain unlikely to approve a similar contract.
In August, Unifor cleared its Ford, GM, and FCA workers to take striking action as necessary “if a fair and reasonable settlement” was not reached quickly enough. Automotive News reports that Ford seems to have sufficient inventory to weather at least “a short walkout.”
Unifor’s chief concern in negotiating a new labor deal with Ford is to secure new product investments like those promised by GM and FCA. Workers at the Oakville Assembly Complex aren’t likely to benefit directly from any such investments, which would be given to Ford’s Windsor engine plants; they want a more generous deal that shortens the 10-year wage grow-in period established in 2012. Oakville employs roughly 5,000 hourly workers represented by Unifor, while just 1,700 work at Ford’s two Windsor plants.