‘Movement’ in Ford labour talks but still ‘a lot of work to do,’ Unifor says
Labour talks with Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. have “narrowed in on the most important issues” with two hours to go until the strike deadline but key demands have still not been met, a Unifor spokeswoman said Monday night.
“Issues remaining are key economic commitments and investment for Ford operations in Canada,” Denise Hammond told reporters at the downtown Toronto hotel where the bargaining committees are meeting.
“With the final two hours remaining, the fate is in the employer’s hands; we will either reach a tentative agreement or we will be on strike.”
Earlier in the evening, Hammond said the union had three main concerns with Ford’s proposal: it has not committed to “real, tangible investment” in its Canadian operations; it wants to immediately introduce temporary, full-time workers at a lower starting wage than their permanent coworkers; and it’s seeking concessions in the workers’ healthcare plan.
Ford did not provide a comment, but has said the pattern set in deals reached with General Motors of Canada Co. and FCA Canada Inc. is too rich for its operations.
Those deals include an enhanced wage progression for new hires that will cost about $18,000 per worker over the life the agreement, and Ford has the most new hires of its Detroit Three counterparts.
Unifor’s primary goal is to secure a new product investment at Ford’s two engine plants in Windsor, Ont.
If no deal is reached by midnight, more than 6,700 workers at Ford’s plants in Windsor and Oakville, Ont. will be on strike immediately. It would be the first Canadian auto strike since 1996.
Unifor has also been struggling with internal strife over the negotiations. The local president representing workers at Ford’s Oakville plant has said he wants an even better deal for new hires than GM and FCA got, while the president of the Windsor local has pushed back, saying those demands could put jobs at risk.