Unifor Members Approve Groundbreaking Contract with Ford, Ushering Highest Ever Wage Increase

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After a suspenseful five-day period since reaching a tentative deal, Unifor members decided during the weekend ballot to narrowly approve a three-year collective agreement with the Ford Motor Company. The deal, voted into action by thousands of Ford workers scattered all across Canada, has been lauded by the union as the “grandest general wage increase in the annals of Unifor and CAW.”

Unifor National President, Lana Payne, applauded the bargaining team’s sterling leadership which thrust Ford of Canada into transformative contractual commitments. “This new deal promises to reorient lives in a significant way as it revolutionises pension schemes, safeguards during the EV transition, and registers the largest wage increases in the history of Canadian auto bargaining,” Payne affirmed.

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By Sunday at 10 a.m., when voting had closed, about 54% of Unifor members had endorsed the new three-year contract according to press release statements and social media feeds. John D’Agnolo, Ford Master Bargaining Chair, expressed relief at the ratification, albeit wishing the approval rate had been higher.

The agreement now extends to cover 5,600 Canadian workers, of which 1,722 are based in Windsor. This agreement comes after a tentative concord was struck between Unifor and Ford Motor Company, following a 24-hour extension on negotiations after Unifor received a “viable offer” moments before the initial deadline.

The particulars of the new contract, that Unifor leadership believes sufficiently addresses the four key principles of pensions, wages, EV transition supports and investment were disclosed on Saturday. This new arrangement promises members a 10 per cent wage increase in the first year, two per cent in the second year, and three per cent in the third year, with even higher raises for skilled trades.

Improved wages over the lifetime of the agreement will see a nearly 20 per cent increase for production and a 25 per cent increase for trades, leading to an increase of about $11 more per hour for Canadian Ford production workers than their U.S. counterparts. Add to that a signing bonus of $10,000 for full-time employees and $4,000 for part-time employees.

Furthermore, benefits such as additional paid time-off like Family Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an improved new hire wage progression scale, reactivation of cost of living allowances, a more secure pension plan, and enhanced health benefits are all part of the agreement.

Expressing her sentiments, Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada said, “Our Unifor-represented autoworkers are the backbone of Ford of Canada. This agreement underscores the importance we place on our skilled and dedicated employees.”

Local reactions to the deal have been largely positive with the potential promise of more jobs due to investment in the Essex Engine Plant. All eyes now turn to Stellantis and General Motors, who will use the Ford-Unifor agreement as a template for their negotiations.

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