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Unifor reaches tentative labor deal with Ford, averting strike in Canada

Rebirth of unions: Analyzing workers choosing to unionize
Rebirth of unions: Analyzing workers choosing to unionize 08:48

(CNN) — The union representing Canadian autoworkers at Ford has reached a tentative deal with the US automaker, keeping its more than 5,000 members on the job there and providing some good news for an industry dealing with unprecedented labor disruptions.

Details of the deal between Ford and Unifor, the Canadian union that represents more than 5,000 of its employees, were not immediately available. 

Unifor was ready to go on strike late Monday night until an 11th-hour offer from Ford led to a 24-hour extension of its union contract and an extra day of negotiations that reached the deal. 

A strike would have shut Ford's three Canadian factories as well as numerous parts distribution centers, halting production of the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus SUVs, which are built at an assembly plant outside of Toronto, as well as two models of the V-8 engine that are built in two engine factories in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit.

The union says it will now prepare to present "this unanimously endorsed tentative agreement in full detail to the membership at upcoming ratification meetings," according to a press release.

"Having so many union members working together to support their bargaining team on the shop floor and online was incredible to see. We showed Ford Motor Company what solidarity looks like," the union said.

"The gains achieved were hard fought for over weeks of negotiations at every subcommittee, local and main economic bargaining table. This painstaking work has resulted in fundamental, transformative gains that addressed our core priorities of pensions, wages, and the EV transition."

Ford of Canada issued the following statement:

"Ford of Canada and Unifor have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year national labor contract covering more than 5,000 unionized employees in Canada.

"The agreement is subject to ratification by Ford-Unifor members. To respect the ratification process, Ford of Canada will not discuss the specifics of the tentative agreement."

In the U.S., Ford, along with General Motors and Stellantis, is grappling with a strike by more than 3,000 of its employees after the three major automakers did not reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers union Thursday night.

In response, UAW President Shawn called on three plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri to stand up and walk out. 

On Monday, Fain announced in a video that he would call on more plants to strike if "serious progress" is not made with the automakers by noon on Friday.

"Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big Three. We're not waiting, and we're not messing around," Fain said in the video.

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