Through three days of voting, 60 per cent of Unifor’s roughly 7,900 members at Stellantis's Windsor Assembly Plant, Brampton Assembly Plant and Etobicoke Castings plant voted in favour of the tentative agreement inked between the company and union after a brief strike and all-night bargaining session Oct. 30.
The percentage of approximately 300 members who approved the deal among office, clerical and engineering, fire and security, and parts distribution centres in Mississauga, Ont., and Red Deer, Alb., ranged from 85 to 100 per cent.
The stamp of approval from rank-and-file workers at assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ont., a castings plant in the Toronto suburbs, and several other parts distribution and office locations in Canada, follows the unanimous endorsement of the deal by Unifor’s elected Stellantis leadership prior to the vote.
The new contract tracks the pattern set by Unifor’s bargaining committee in its deal with Ford Motor Co. of Canada in September, and its agreement with General Motors Canada in October. It includes general wage increases of 15 per cent over the three-year term, the reactivation of cost-of-living allowance top-ups and $10,000 bonuses for full-time staff upon signing.
Stellantis also clarified its product plans for its key assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton as part of the deal.
The Windsor Assembly Plant is slated to continue building the Chrysler Pacifica and add the next-generation Dodge muscle cars following a retooling project that’s currently under way, Unifor told members ahead of the signing. The Brampton Assembly Plant will be retooled starting early next year and build the next-generation Jeep Compass upon reopening in late 2025, the union added.
The production plans for both plants were no surprise, with forecasters predicting the model mix last fall.
Mark Stewart, Stellantis COO for North America, said the company's Canadian workforce will play a "key role" in the automaker's North American electrification plans, making a contract that works for all parties "especially important."
“It was always our intention to reward our Unifor-represented employees for their contributions to our business during this round of bargaining," he said in a release.
Ratification of Unifor’s contract with the final member of the Detroit Three wraps up three months of high-stakes auto bargaining in Canada. The union opened bargaining with the three companies in Toronto Aug. 10, seeking historic gains in an era of high corporate profits and high levels of inflation.
The round of talks led to brief strikes at both GM and Stellantis, while the tentative agreement sent to union members at Ford met with relatively tepid approval. Only 54 per cent of Unifor members at the Ford’s Canadian operations voted in favour of the deal. The new contract faced fewer internal hurdles at GM Canada, where a more junior membership approved the deal with 80.5 per cent voting in favour.
Canadian auto bargaining was also partially overshadowed by comparable, but more acrimonious talks in the United States, which were accompanied by six weeks of escalating UAW strikes against select Detroit Three plants.