The latest round of contract negotiations comes as Ford, General Motors and Stellantis commit billions of dollars to new battery production plants and electric vehicle retooling projects at vehicle assembly sites throughout North America, including plants across Ontario.
They also follow an era of high profitability for automakers, which have leveraged tight post-pandemic vehicle inventories to produce record profits, fueling high expectations among union members. Ahead of the talks, Unifor has been repeatedly flagging higher wages, improved pensions and support for workers during the industry’s transition to EVs as among its top priorities for the negotiations with the Detroit Three.
Unlike other rounds of bargaining stretching back to 1999, Canadian auto workers and their American counterparts in the United Auto Workers (UAW), will be bargaining simultaneously. The UAW’s contracts with the automakers expire Sept. 14, four days before Unifor’s.
Before the official handshake ceremonies in downtown Toronto kick off the latest round of talks, Automotive News Canada spoke with insiders about how each automaker is positioning itself to bargain with Unifor.