Ford and Unifor have been working on a new labor deal since August, and reached a tentative agreement on a new contract back in September. All that was left to do was for Unifor members to ratify the historic agreement, and they’ve done just that, making it official. In fact, an overwhelming majority of Unifor members voted in favor of the deal – a full 81 percent.
“This is the single biggest investment in the Canadian auto industry in years providing long-term job security for Unifor members,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The vote result not only demonstrates our members’ overwhelming support for their bargaining committees and their new collective agreement, but also shows Unifor members have a clear vision of a strong and prosperous Canadian auto sector.”
As we’ve previously reported, the new deal includes a $1.8 billion dollar investment by the automaker to retool the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant to produce five electric vehicles, a process that will begin in 2024, with the first EV scheduled to roll off the assembly line in 2025.
The union also negotiated a series of pay increases and new benefits for workers, including a five percent wage increase over the life of the agreement, along with a four percent lump sum, a productivity and quality bonus of $7,250, inflation protection bonuses and major changes to the New Hire Program, including an 8-year wage grid, and reinstatement of afternoon and midnight shift premiums.
A 20 percent wage differential has also been re-instated for skilled trades workers and many improvements to benefits for Unifor members have been negotiated along with paid domestic violence leave and a racial justice advocate.
“We went into bargaining with two major priorities, to secure new product allocation and make progress on wages and working conditions for our members, and I think it’s safe to say we hit a home run on both fronts,” said John D’Agnolo, Chair of the Master Bargaining Committee. “We want to thank the bargaining team, our local leadership, and the members who showed unwavering solidarity through some very intense weeks of bargaining.”
One more interesting detail about this new deal that wasn’t previously disclosed relates to the automaker’s $148 million investment in the Ford Windsor Engine Plant. Unifor President Jerry Dias mentioned that Ford will be sourcing a new 6.8L engine from the plant, which is newsworthy itself. However, he also stated that the engine would be used in “derivatives for the Ford Mustang and Ford F-150.”
As of now, there’s been no confirmation what sort of engine this 6.8L powerplant is, whether it be a V8, V10, diesel, or something entirely different. It certainly seems unlikely that it would be used in a Ford Mustang, so perhaps Dias misspoke here. Or, maybe the engine will see the light of day in something like a forthcoming Ford SUV with the Mustang nameplate on it, a la the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Regardless, we’ll certainly be staying tuned to see what comes of this.