Unifor has received and rejected two “economic” offers from Ford Motor Co. of Canada, union President Lana Payne told members Thursday, as contract talks bear down on the Sept. 18 expiry of the two parties’ current deal.
“Those offers did not come close to meeting our expectations,” she said at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, where bargaining has been under way since Aug. 10.
The union is “meeting resistance” from Ford on several priority issues, Payne added, including pension and wage improvements for members. She did not disclose details of the offers, and said the union has no plans to publicize specifics until the bargaining committee has a tentative agreement to take to members.
While considerable distance remains between the two sides, Payne said, “talks have by no means stalled” and there is “constructive dialogue” in certain areas.
John D’Agnolo, chair of Unifor’s Ford master bargaining committee, said the union did not enter talks expecting them to be easy.
“I’m hopeful that we will get there, but we have to plan and be ready for every possible scenario.”
Unifor picked Ford Aug. 29 as its target automaker after roughly two weeks of concurrent talks with the Detroit Three. At that point, it paused negotiations with General Motors and Stellantis.
Payne did not address whether the union would consider striking if an agreement with Ford is not reached before Tuesday, but noted the union would be in position to do so.
By that point, workers at Detroit Three plants in the United States may already be off the job. The UAW’s contracts with the three automakers were set to expire Sept. 14 with little prospect of a deal.
Payne acknowledged that a strike in the United States was certain to affect Canadian auto plants, but it was too soon to assess the fallout.
“We don’t know yet though what the extent of that impact will be until, and if, a labour dispute occurs.”
Unifor plans to continue bargaining with Ford until its own Sept. 18 contract expiry, Payne said, but said the automaker needs to up its offer.
“Now is the time for constructive dialogue to translate into constructive outcomes. There are only a few days left before the deadline, so Ford Motor Co. needs to come to the table with a serious offer that moves us toward a ratifiable tentative agreement.”
Ford Canada had little to add.
"These discussions are best left at the bargaining table," a company spokesperson wrote in an email.