Unifor has not reached a tentative agreement with Ford, meaning its contract covering all members will expire at 11:59 p.m., according to a memorandum to Unifor members.
Talks continue to progress at the master and local tables, Unifor told its members. However, the union and company remained far apart. The union urged Unifor members to prepare for all scenarios, including a strike.
Ford has not shared how it sees contract negotiations going, but Unifor President Lana Payne told CNN the two sides are still at odds, especially on financial issues. The union has rejected the first two offers from Ford, Payne noted.
Neither Unifor nor Ford told CNN where they stand on wage increase offers. However, the news outlet reported the union is seeking substantial wage hikes, pension improvements, and job security guarantees.
Ford has one assembly plant in Canada, in the Toronto suburb of Oakville, Ontario, where 3,400 Unifor members produce Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus SUVs. Ford has two engine plants in Windsor, Ontario. The two plants employ a total of 1,700 Unifor members.
The company's best-selling F-150 pickup and Mustangs use V-8 engines that are manufactured in the plants. While buyers will be able to get those vehicles with a six-cylinder engine, if there’s a strike, the Windsor plants are the only ones that make the V-8 engines, should a customer want those.
The Edge, Nautilus and V-8 versions of those two key Ford products could join the Ford Ranger pickup and the Bronco SUV – both made at U.S. and Canada, reported CNN.
Unifor’s contracts expired at all three of the traditional Big Three automakers – Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, which makes vehicles for the North American market under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler names. However, the union has singled out Ford as its primary focus, homing in on the ongoing negotiations with the company and providing contract extensions to the other two. If Unifor reaches an agreement with Ford, CNN reported the union will use that agreement as a model for the contracts with the other two automakers.
Ford has a history of positive labor relations in the U.S. and Canada. Ford's workforces in the U.S. and Canada have not gone on strike since 1978 and 1990, respectively. Payne told CNN Ford workers are ready to strike on Monday if their demands are not met.
The Infor bargaining team will remain in negotiations and continue to work around the clock to reach a tentative agreement that addresses the core priorities set by union members before the current deadline, reported Payne in the memorandum.