Though it’s now dealing with a strike in the U.S. after failing to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union prior to last night’s deadline, Ford is also in the midst of talks with the Canadian union Unifor, too. With the ongoing EV transition and the future of FoMoCo’s Canadian plants a big focus of these admittedly “complex” negotiations, things at least got off to a friendlier start in that country as Unifor participated in the traditional “hand shake” kickoff and even selected Ford as its target company to negotiate with, citing its planned EV investments in Canada, clear future plans, and its “good working relationship” with the automaker as reasons for that decision. However, the two sides are apparently far apart in terms of finding common ground, according to Automotive News Canada.
Ford has reportedly made two offers to Unifor thus far, both of which were rejected by the union. “Those offers did not come close to meeting our expectations,” said Unifor President Lana Payne. “We don’t know yet though what the extent of that impact will be until, and if, a labor dispute occurs. Now is the time for constructive dialogue to translate into constructive outcomes. There are only a few days left before the deadline, so Ford Motor Company needs to come to the table with a serious offer that moves us toward a ratifiable tentative agreement.”
The current contract between Ford and its Detroit-based counterparts General Motors and Stellantis is set to expire September 18th, leaving just a few days for both sides to figure thing out. However, Payne noted that the two entities remain far apart on a few key issues, such as pay increases and additional pension benefits, though she also stopped short of providing any specifics.
Regardless, Payne did add that these “talks have by no means stalled,” and said there is “constructive dialogue” going on between the two parties. However, the union isn’t ruling out the possibility that it may wind up joining the UAW and striking. “I’m hopeful that we will get there, but we have to plan and be ready for every possible scenario,” said John D’Agnolo, chair of Unifor’s Ford master bargaining committee.