Skip to main content

'It’s an amazing deal': Unifor members ratify new deal with Ford

A narrow margin of support by Unifor members for the proposed Ford contract is a sign of the times according to the union who will now shift focus towards General Motors.

The three-year collective agreement was ratified with 54 per cent support, and contains wage increases, signing bonuses, and re-activates a cost-of-living allowance.

“This is all about my members and I wanted to make sure I got the best damn agreement I could get for my members,” said Ford Master Bargaining Chair, John D'Agnolo. “We absolutely did everything we could to get as much as we could for our members.”

D'Agnolo said, “It's an amazing deal when you reflect on the whole contract. When you look at how it impacts everybody, especially our young workforce, like they could not even afford just rent.”

He explained, “I think it was important that we looked at that. And that's just in Windsor. You can imagine what it's like in Oakville and the Oshawa assembly plant or the Brampton assembly plant. These are things that we always look at to make sure that we take care of all workers, not just one group of workers.”

D'Agnolo told CTV News that pension increases were also returned to the contract after a 15-year absence along, and suggested 54 per cent support for the collective agreement is a sign of the times.

“It's the times, right. The dynamic with the UAW (United Auto Workers) in bargaining on top of where we're at today. People can hardly feed themselves today with the housing costs, with rentals. This is it. This is the times and people are frustrated and hopefully when they see their paychecks they'll reflect on it,” said D'Agnolo.

D’Agnolo continued, “In Windsor, we have a lot of people that can retire. So traditionally, when we bargain every six years, we just focus on pensions. This was not just focusing on pensions. This was focusing on absolutely everything. When you think about the wage grid alone, the cost of that. So someone with one-year seniority will be getting over the three year term, an 80 per cent increase. That's massive. That's unheard of. This was a huge cost and this is why we didn't focus on one item.”

He added, “We were down from 6,300 down to less than 1,200 members at one time and we're growing, which is important and we'll continue to make sure that's done.”

Automotive News Canada Digital Editor Greg Layson told CTV News he wasn’t surprised by the close outcome.

“I actually thought it might be close the other way,” Layson said. “I thought it might get turned down.”

Layson continued, “I liken this a lot to federal politics where you have ridings, municipalities, regions of the country who don't always agree. It's the same in the auto industry. You have young workers at assembly plants in Oakville. You have older workers here in Windsor at the engine plant, they aren't always going to agree on what is best and what is priority.”

According to Layson, “It's the job of the executive to get it together as a total package and get it passed. And that's what they did.”

“This brought back cost of living allowance so those who are struggling right now they'll get a little extra money to help with inflation. It had a $10,000 signing bonus. That's a huge amount of money for a young family or a young man or woman who's trying to pay off bills before the holidays. It's got improvements to pension so that helps those who are getting closer to retirement. It brought back a lot of the things the union gave up over the last decade or longer and they're back in the contract now,” Layson said.

“I went into these negotiations thinking product wouldn't be part of any sort of negotiations because most product development, whether it's engines, transmissions, or actual vehicle assembly, had been spoken for heading into the talks. The automakers cleared the table of that. And yet here we are, Windsor wins a little bit more product and that's huge news locally,” he added.

Layson noted, “When all is said and done, these workers in Canada are going to get $10,000 up front. A of cost of living allowance that can rise up to $2 an hour. They're getting our raise up to 22 per cent when you roll that Cola in for new hires. Those who are new hires only have to work five years to get to the next step in the pay grid. All of those are improvements and then for the senior workers, they have better benefits and better pensions.”

The deal covers 5,600 Ford workers in Canada, including 1,722 in Windsor. Top Stories

'No concessions' St-Onge says in $100M a year news deal with Google

The Canadian government has reached a deal with Google over the Online News Act that will see the tech giant pay $100 million annually to publishers, and continue to allow access to Canadian news content on its platform. This comes after Google had threatened to block news on its platform when the contentious new rules come into effect next month.


opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.

Stay Connected