Outside of the U.S. strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Canadian autoworkers could also issue a strike at Ford Motor Company as early as Monday night with their own contract set to expire.
Unifor, a Canadian trade union that represents autoworkers, is preparing for a strike at Ford as the “union and the company remain far apart” amid this year’s contract negotiations, the union said Sunday. The workers’ contract with the automaker is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18.
The Canadian union extended its contracts with the other Big Three companies -- General Motors and Stellantis -- but not with Ford, which was identified as their target for bargaining and a potential strike. Through a process called pattern bargaining, the union intends to use whatever agreement they reach with Ford to later establish new contracts with GM and Stellantis.
Ford has one assembly plant in Canada located outside of Toronto, where workers make vehicles like the Ford Edge and Lincoln-brand SUVs. About 3,400 of the plant’s autoworkers are represented by Unifor. Ford also has two engine plants in Windsor, where about 1,700 Unifor members work.
The union could potentially strike as early as 12 a.m. Tuesday. Canadian autoworkers employed by GM and Stellantis would not strike, since their contracts have been extended.
Unifor said Sunday that it has made progress with Ford since last week, but that the union remains at odds with the automaker “at this late stage in the negotiations.” As of Sunday, the union had “not yet reached a tentative agreement” with Ford.
The Canadian union said its bargaining team will continue to negotiate in an effort to reach a tentative agreement before the Monday night deadline. Visit Unifor’s website here for the latest information.
Ford is already experiencing a strike here in the U.S. after its contract expired with the United Auto Workers union last week. For the first time in history, the UAW called a simultaneous national strike at each of the Big Three after the parties failed to make a deal by their Sept. 14 deadline.
The UAW represents 146,000 autoworkers across the Big Three, but not all of them are striking at once. The UAW is calling this a “stand up strike,” and defines it as “a strike that grows over time, giving our national negotiators maximum leverage and maximum flexibility to win a record contract.”
Only workers at GM Wentzville Assembly, the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex, and the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant (final assembly and paint only) were striking as of Monday, officials said. A full strike is still possible, but the union is starting with the smaller strikes.