Updated Sep 19, 2023 - Economy

Ford Canada auto strike threat abates after tentative deal struck

The Ford Windsor Engine Plant in Windsor, Canada, on Tuesday. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Ford and Canadian auto workers "reached a tentative agreement" in negotiations for a new labour contract, said the company and the union on Tuesday night.

Why it matters: An agreement between Ford and Unifor, the union representing over 5,600 members, on a new contract deal in Canada would stave off strike action, as the "Detroit Three" auto makers grapple with the UAW's historic strike across the border in the U.S.

  • The American and Canadian auto industries are closely intertwined and Labor action in one country could quickly affect employees across the border, per Axios' Joann Muller.

The big picture: Lana Payne, Unifor's national president, said before the previous contract agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. on Monday that workers were prepared for scenarios including strike action as talks continued. Negotiations were extended for another 24 hours early Tuesday.

  • "We leveraged our union's most powerful weapon: the right to strike," Unifor said in an online statement after the tentative deal was announced.
  • A Ford spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Tuesday night that the tentative agreement was for a three-year national labour contract, but because the agreement was "subject to ratification by Ford-Unifor members" he would not not "discuss the specifics" of the potential deal.

Of note: Unlike the UAW, Unifor has been quietly bargaining with Ford over wages, pensions and the transition to electric vehicles after selecting the company as a negotiations "target."

What's next: The union plans to use the eventual deal as the pattern for bargaining with and Chrysler parent company Stellantis and General Motors in Canada.

Go deeper: How the UAW strike could disrupt the economy

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper