Ford Motor Company of Canada says its unionized workers, represented by Unifor, have voted in favor of a new contract. The new agreement will run through 2023.
The deal, which was announced by Unifor last week, includes a $1.8 billion investment to build electric vehicles at the company’s plant in Oakville, Ontario. It also includes $148 million for a powertrain plant in Windsor, Ontario –just across the river from Detroit.
Roughly 81% of workers voted in favor of the deal. The agreement between Unifor and Ford is expected to set the tone for upcoming contract talks with Fiat Chrysler and General Motors. Unifor said it plans to meet with Fiat later this week.
Ford said the deal will see more flexible work arrangements and a quicker path for new hires to advance up the ranks. It also includes two 2.5% raises and a $7,250 ratification bonus for full-time, permanent workers.
Pay Raises and Product Commitments
By the end of the deal, the salary grid will start at $24.26/hour and rise to $37.33/hour. Currently the grid is $20.92 to $35.33. Skilled trades (based on an electrician’s wages) will also see a rise from a base hourly rate of $41.88 to $44.77 over the course of the agreement.
Specifically, the deal will result in five new electric vehicles being built in Oakville. Meanwhile, Windsor is getting a third shift. That should add about 120 jobs to help build the new 6X engine at Ford’s Annex Engine Plant. Ford Canada CEO Dean Stoneley said the agreement cements the company’s Canadian business as a leader in advanced automotive manufacturing.
Windsor will remain the sole source for all of Ford’s 5.0-litre engines for the life of the contract. It also produces the new 7.3-litre ‘Godzilla’ engine. The Windsor plants supply product to Ford’s popular F-150 pick-up truck line-up and the Ford Mustang muscle car.
Some negotiations with the Government of Ontario and Ford are ongoing. These are to ensure the battery testing for Oakville’s new BEV products will be done in Windsor. Ford already has a powertrain research and development center in the city. The autoworkers union is seeking additional government investments for that facility.
Unifor’s local union leaders endorsed the deal with Ford and urged workers to ratify the agreement. The deal fulfilled a push by Unifor to get new product commitments and funding for EVs from the three major Detroit-based automakers. All of this after GM downsized its plant in Oshawa, Ontario last year.
As part of the deal, Ford will also offer a one-time lump sum retirement incentive in 2021. They also bumped the buyout offers in the contract to $60,000 (plus a $20,000 car voucher) for production workers and $70,000 and a car voucher for those working in the skilled trades.