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Unifor and Ford announced on Sept. 22 that they had reached a tentative agreement, avoiding a strike and creating a “pattern” the union will use in negotiations with the other two members of the Detroit Three car companies, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and General Motors Co.
Collective agreements between the companies and their unionized Canadian workers expired Sept. 21, with Unifor saying it would negotiate next with Fiat Chrysler.
This tentative agreement with Ford delivers what our members need now and in the future
A summary of the tentative agreement with Ford of Canada, published by Unifor, shows workers would receive wage increases of 2.5 per cent in the first and third years of the contract. They would also receive a one-time “Productivity and Quality Bonus” of $7,250 if the deal is ratified, among other contract details released by the union.
But the centrepiece of the deal is the $1.95 billion investment in Ford’s Oakville and Windsor, Ont. plants. Concerns about the former’s future beyond 2023 was a key reason why Unifor began its bargaining with Ford.
The Oakville facility is also set to receive the lion’s share of the $1.95 billion, as Unifor says the plant is to be retooled so it can build electric vehicles after Edge production is phased out. That $1.8-billion project is to begin in 2024, with the first battery-powered vehicle forecast to roll off the assembly line in 2026, “and hopefully sooner,” the union says.
“This is one of the most significant investment announcements in Canadian automotive history, and is a game-changer for the Canadian auto sector,” the Unifor summary says. “Through this conversion, Oakville will become the first mass production (battery electric vehicle) plant in Canada — and one of only a few currently in North America.”