There was some positive news in the ongoing labor battle between the Big Three and unionized autoworkers, though it came from north of the border: Ford (F) reached a deal with a Canadian auto workers union — possibly providing some precedent for a deal to be reached here in the US.
Ford of Canada said it reached a deal with Unifor, the auto workers union in Canada, on a new three-year national labor contract that would cover 5,000 union workers in the country.
Ford would not outline any details of the deal, since the contract still needed to be ratified by Ford-Unifor members. A source told Automotive News that Unifor was seeking wage gains well “north of 20%,” and that pension plan expansion had been a sticking point.
“We believe that this tentative agreement, endorsed by the entire master bargaining committee, addresses all of the items raised by members in preparation for this round of collective bargaining,” Unifor national president Lana Payne said in a statement.
The contract between Ford of Canada and Unifor expired on Sept. 18 at 11:59PM, but both sides continued to negotiate on a deal, with no strike called for by Unifor. Unifor said it had opened formal negotiations with Ford on Aug. 10, as it had picked Ford as its “target” company for securing an initial deal, which Unifor will then use to negotiate with other automakers — GM and Stellantis.
In the US, meanwhile, Stellantis said this week it is currently engaged in negotiations with the UAW. But a source close to the talks tells Yahoo Finance negotiations with GM (GM) have hit some road bumps.
GM has apparently continued its “dialogue” with the UAW, the source said, but the “gap is very big” between where the two sides are currently positioned.
Finally the source said it was not clear at this point which UAW demands were the most important, or needed to be included in any deal.
As for Ford, despite its recent win in Canada, in the US negotiations are ongoing, though the company has not publicly issued a contract proposal since Sept. 14, the day its contract with the UAW expired.
The cost incentive of finding a deal soon for the Big Three automakers is rising, as UAW president Shawn Fain said this week that the union would “stand up” strike at additional plants at noon on Friday of this week if “substantial progress” hasn’t been made in talks with the automakers. Currently the strike — which began six days ago — would cost the automakers around $100 million to $125 million each per week, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.
Now Barclays is predicting that if the strike were to expand on Friday, the UAW could target the automaker’s big truck plants, which assemble extremely popular and profitable pickups like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500, in order to hasten the negotiating process.