Yesterday, we reported that following weeks of negotiations, Ford and Canadian union Unifor had reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract. Unifor National President Jerry Dias also revealed a few interesting tidbits about the deal during a news conference, including the fact that the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant will be building a total of five new electric vehicles. Now, Dias has also given a vague timeline on when we can expect to see the retooling process begin.
“Retooling will start in 2024,” he said. “We’re going to have the first vehicle roll off in 2025 and there will be five models. Another will roll off in 2028. And we’re definitely going to be assembling batteries in Oakville. This is going to be a long-term investment.”
Prior to the tentative agreement, the future of the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant, where the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are produced, was uncertain. As Ford Authority recently reported, Nautilus production will end at the plant in July 2024, while the next-gen Edge, also produced in Oakville, has reportedly been cancelled.
That’s precisely why Unifor chose The Blue Oval as its pattern agreement target from the start. But Dias made it clear that incoming CEO Jim Farley was all-in on keeping the plant and its 3,400 workers intact. “Jim Farley understood the importance of Oakville,” Dias said. “We had very, very, very good conversations with Mr. Farley. This announcement happens only as a result of Jim Farley making that decision. He’s taking over. This is his baby.”
The new deal can’t be finalized until Unifor members vote on the proposed contract on Sunday, at which time additional details will be outlined. But if/when that happens, the electrified future of the Oakville plant is most certainly big news for our neighbors to the north.
“Up until today, of the $300 billion announced globally in EV investments as the auto industry transforms from combustible engines to battery-electric vehicles, not one nickel had been allocated Canada. But with today’s announcement, that changes,” Dias said.