Ford Motor Company of Canada workers ratify deal
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Workers with Ford Motor Company of Canada have ratified a three-year-deal.
Unifor released the results on Monday. Voting started Sunday morning after Ford and Unifor came to a tentative deal on Sept. 22.
“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 and $148 million for Windsor powertrain facilities.
Ford has committed to source new 6.X L engines to the Windsor Engine Plant and sole source 5.0L 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.
Unifor Local 200 posted on Facebook Monday that the Windsor results are 87 per cent in production and 86 per cent in trades. The union said it was 81 per cent overall support for all sites.
“Thank you to our Bargaining Committee for all of your hard work,” said the Local 200 post. “Thank you to the membership for your strong support.”
The union said it also negotiated a five per cent wage increase over the life of the agreement, along with a four per cent lump sum, a productivity and quality bonus of $7,250, inflation protection bonuses and major changes to the New Hire Program, including an eight-year wage grid, and re-instatement of afternoon and midnight shift premiums.
A 20 per cent wage differential has also been reinstated for skilled trades workers and Unifor said many improvements to benefits have been negotiated along with paid domestic violence leave and a racial justice advocate.
“We went into bargaining with two major priorities, to secure new product allocation and make progress on wages and working conditions for our members, and I think it’s safe to say we hit a home run on both fronts,” said John D’Agnolo, Local 200 president.
Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association president Flavio Volpe calls the deal “historic” saying Windsor’s involvement in the Ford F-150 line bodes well for future employment.
“Both in Windsor and in Oakville we’re very excited,” said Volpe.
He said it’s a bit of a chicken and an egg.
“Do you commit to vehicles that people aren’t buying in great volumes, or do you wait until people are buying them in great volumes and hope you’re in the business? I think this balances the two,” said Volpe.
Volpe tells CTV News he believes the Windsor plant will act as the bridge between Ontario technological ability and supply into the most important vehicle line into one of the world‘s greatest automakers.
“If Windsor plays on E-gears and electric motors for F-150, while being on this side of the border and working with all the other supply chain, whether that’s final assembly, whether that’s battery pack, it is a very exciting place to be,” Volpe added.
The contract is meant to serve as a framework for union and the Big Three Automakers — Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler — as the two sides work to hammer out new collective agreements.
As focus shifts to talks with Fiat Chrysler this week, Volpe says he’s encouraged.
“I’m excited about updates to the minivan product in Windsor,” he said.
Volpe says he’s optimistic talks between the union and FCA will go well.
“I’m not worried like I have been in the past,” said Volpe. “It’s a question here of, look, FCA has some exciting stuff coming in the pipeline as well like Ford does. Can we convince them that this is the right place to do it? That’s what’s really at stake here.”
With files from CTV Windsor's Chris Campbell.