Ford – along with its Detroit Big Three counterparts General Motors and Stellantis – is in the midst of contract negotiations with not just one, but two different unions – the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the U.S., and Unifor in Canada. As Ford Authority reported earlier this month, Unifor has reportedly been eyeing Ford as its “pattern target agreement” company of choice, which was also the case in prior negotiations just a few years ago. Now, that’s once again precisely the case, as the union just announced that it has in fact selected Ford as its target company for these ongoing contract talks at the Unifor Autotalks 2023 Media Conference.
This move comes as little surprise after Unifor president Lana Payne previously praised Ford for its planned EV investments in Canada, particularly at the Oakville Assembly plant, which is set to undergo a retooling before production of the all-electric Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator begin there in 2025. Unifor also revealed that it is focused on the future of Ford’s Windsor Engine plant and Essex Engine plant earlier this month, too.
Payne previously pointed out that the union and Ford have a “good working relationship,” and noted that The Blue Oval has presented it with the “clearest picture” in terms of what the future of the Oakville plant will look like. Additionally, FoMoCo has demonstrated “a willingness to dialogue” and has signaled “a desire to draft a blueprint for the future transition through bargaining,” which helps create a “useful baseline with which to negotiate,” according to Payne.
“I am declaring today that I’ve selected @FordCanada as the pattern-setting target for #AutoTalks2023,” says @Lanampayne as #Unifor’s #DetroitThree target company is announced at a media conference in Toronto. #canlab pic.twitter.com/XAAbxJPc3M
— Unifor (@UniforTheUnion) August 29, 2023
The ongoing EV transition is a big focus in these contract negotiations, but it isn’t the only hot topic that figures to play a role in talks between Ford, GM, Stellantis, and Unifor, which are expected to be the “most complex” to date. Rather, Unifor is also seeking clarity on the future of The Blue Oval’s two engine plants in Canada, and recently voted to authorize a strike if it can’t reach amicable terms on these topics.