Union members began setting up picket lines outside the company’s key assembly plants in Brampton and Windsor, Ont., early on Monday, as the union’s strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. Oct. 29 came and went.
Despite the commencement of the strike, Unifor said negotiations will continue through the night.
Unifor warned the automaker on Friday that it would not delay a strike regardless of any progress at the bargaining table over the weekend.
“Like it was with [General Motors], this deadline is the deadline,” Payne said Oct. 27, in a nod to a short-lived strike at GM Canada workplaces Oct. 10.
The strike covers all Unifor’s roughly 8,200 workers at Stellantis workplaces in Canada, which include the pair of vehicle plants, a castings plant in the Toronto suburbs, two parts distribution centres and several office locations. The company has the largest footprint in Canada of the Detroit Three.
"We are extremely disappointed. We will continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached. We look forward to getting everyone back to work as soon as possible," the automaker said in a statement.
Payne said Friday progress with Stellantis has been “very slow,” as the company resists union demands for product commitments.
“There are major investments hanging in the balance right now, including for Windsor, [which] is nearing the end of a retooling period, but more especially for Brampton. We need these investments locked in and spelled out for our members.”
Unifor reopened contract talks with Stellantis Oct. 18, about six weeks after it put discussions on hold to focus on hammering out deals with Ford Motor Co. of Canada and General Motors.
The union struck a collective agreement with Ford in late September that set the benchmark for its pattern bargaining strategy. It then reinforced its gains in its deal with GM earlier this month.
Among other components, the pattern deals include pay increases of nearly 20 per cent over three years for longtime workers, bonuses of $10,000 for full-time staff and a path to defined-benefit pension plans for all workers. Unifor is looking to apply the same core components of those contracts to its prospective agreement with Stellantis.
“There will be no concessions in this pattern agreement. There will only be improvements for our members,” Payne added on Friday.
The walkout is the union’s first at Stellantis workplaces since 1987. The parties were known as the Canadian Auto Workers union and Chrysler Corp. at the time.
It comes as about 14,000 Stellantis workers in the United States return to work following a six-week strike.
On Saturday, the UAW and Stellantis reached a tentative agreement that will grant workers 25 per cent pay hikes over the course of the deal and see the company revive the Belvidere Assembly plant in Illinois that was idled earlier this year. The accord must still be approved by union leadership and rank-and-file members, but workers will return to the job as the ratification process is carried out.