GM-Unifor Deal Won't Fly With Ford Workers: Union Official

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
gm unifor deal wont fly with ford workers union official

GM Canada autoworkers seemed pretty pleased with the contract deal their union reached with the company, but Ford needs to put something different on the table to satisfy its employees.

The president of a Unifor local representing Canadian Ford workers said his members would have voted down the GM deal, Reuters reports.

For GM workers, the potential loss of the Oshawa assembly plant was top of mind. Unifor, which represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, has placed new product and investment as its number one demand in this round of bargaining talks.

Ford will be the last of the three to enter contract negotiations. Under pattern bargaining, the other two companies are held to the terms of the deal reached with the first.

According to Dave Thomas, president of Unifor’s Local 707, Ford workers would reject an employee pay grid modeled after GM’s. (In return for plant investment, Unifor agreed to keep the 10-year pay ladder for new hires.)

“That framework that GM has set forward won’t ratify in Oakville,” Thomas told Reuters, referring to the automaker’s main Canadian assembly plant. “My members have huge concerns.”

The union official says his members want new hires to reach the top of the pay grid sooner. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed to shrug off the brewing unrest at Ford, saying that pattern bargaining always produces this result.

“We’ll deal with Ford when we get there,” Dias told Reuters. “The 707 leadership is listening to their members, and so we’ll see where that takes us.”

Negotiations between Unifor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are already underway, with a strike deadline set for October 10.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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  • VoGo VoGo on Oct 03, 2016

    Oakville is a really nice suburb of Toronto, so it surprises me that there is a major auto manufacturing plant there. Question for the B&B: are there other wealthy towns with car factories in them?

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    • LXbuilder LXbuilder on Oct 03, 2016

      If homes valued between $600k and $1.5k qualify as a nice neighborhood then Brampton Assembly. Though most racists and wanna be racists in training look way down there noses at Brampton these days. Still some really nice neighborhoods IMO.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Oct 03, 2016

    No worries, Jerry will just use the Konami code again.

  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Oct 03, 2016

    "10-year pay ladder for new hires" I wonder how many of the jobs covered by that will exist in the same location 10 years from now. Sucks to be young. Then again, a lot of those new hires may have bailed from other broken careers and not be spring chickens.

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    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Oct 03, 2016

      @Mason - looking at StatsCan data from 2007 (most recent) 39% of the country's machinists work in Ontario. The oil boom shifted skilled trades West to the oil patch. " For example, coinciding with the decline in manufacturing, the proportion of tradesworkers in Ontario was 36% in 2007, down significantly from 41% in 1987." 97% of skilled tradesmen had full time jobs in 2007. I'm sure that the economic downturn around 2008 made those numbers worse but across the board there is a skilled tradesmen shortage developing due to those approaching retirement age and an aversion by the young entering the workforce to gravitate to skilled trades. Anecdotally, the tradesmen I know aren't too worried about employment but BC hasn't been hit too hard by the oil market collapse. In the past we have been hit hard by housing market collapses in the USA but due to tariffs on Canadian soft wood lumber (despite NAFTA) we've found markets elsewhere.