Members of Unifor, the union representing auto workers in Canada, ratified a new three-year contract with the Ford Motor Co.
The final tally, according to Unifor, shows 81% of the union members voted for the new collective agreements that include $1.95 billion in investments for new production at the automaker’s Oakville, and Windsor, Ontario plants along with other significant gains.
“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.”
Highlights of the deal include $1.8 billion to retool and build new battery-electric vehicles in Oakville, including a crossover utility vehicle. The Oakville facility built the Flex crossover until Ford elected to discontinue the slow-selling model. Naturally, it was at the top of the union’s wish list.
Additionally, the automaker committed $148 million for the Windsor powertrain facilities. Ford has committed to source new engines to the Windsor Engine Plant and sole source the 5.0-liter gas engine assembly and current component machining to the Essex Engine plant, along with any derivatives.
“This agreement is perfect timing and positions our members at the forefront of the electric vehicle transformation, as the Oakville plant will be a key BEV supplier to the North American and European Union markets,” said Dias.
The union also negotiated a 5% wage increase during the life of the agreement, along with a 4% lump sum, a productivity and quality bonus of C$7,250, inflation protection bonuses and major changes to the New Hire Program and reduced the grow in period for to top wages from 10 years to eight years.
The new contract also re-instated of afternoon and midnight shift premiums that were lost in previous agreements. Now the union focuses on its discussions with Fiat Chrysler and topping the list appears to be getting additional minivan production at the Windsor plant. The automaker cut the plant’s third shift earlier this year.
It’s also looking for additional investment at the Brampton, Ontario plant, just outside of Toronto. The plant currently builds Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger, but the union wants to secure something other than the company’s sedan line-up, which isn’t a growth segment the industry.
Talks with FCA may be complicated by the ongoing talks between FCA and PSA, led by Peugeot, to merge the two companies. Those discussions are expected to be completed by the end of the year.