Unifor reaches tentative deal with Ford, averting autoworkers strike

Click to play video: 'Negotiations ongoing between Canadian auto workers union and Ford'
Negotiations ongoing between Canadian auto workers union and Ford
WATCH: Negotiations ongoing between Canadian auto workers union and Ford

Unifor says it has reached a tentative deal with Ford Motor Co. that could avoid workers going on strike.

The deal was reached after Unifor extended its strike deadline by 24 hours late Monday after receiving what it called a “substantive offer” from Ford.

“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.

“We believe that this agreement will solidify the foundations on which we will continue to bargain gains for generations of autoworkers in Canada.”

Details of the tentative agreement were not made public. The union said the deal would be presented to members for ratification votes to be held “in the near future.”

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Ford confirmed in a brief statement that a tentative deal had been reached, but said it would comment further to respect the ratification process.

Click to play video: 'Ford auto strike: Unifor president says deal not yet reached as strike deadline looms'
Ford auto strike: Unifor president says deal not yet reached as strike deadline looms

Negotiations with Ford are expected to set expectations for what workers will get in contracts from General Motors and Stellantis, the other members of the so-called “Detroit Three” group of major automakers in Canada and the U.S.

Unifor represents about 5,600 Canadian autoworkers and was pushing for higher wages and job protection for its members.

Negotiations began last month for a new contract to replace the old collective agreement that expired on Monday. Union members had voted overwhelmingly for a strike to begin at midnight Tuesday if a new deal wasn’t reached.

That strike deadline was extended by 24 hours after the latest offer from Ford was presented late Monday.

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The tentative deal was reached as an autoworkers strike in the United States against the Detroit Three companies approaches the one-week mark.

Unifor had said it was watching those negotiations closely before they broke down late last week.

U.S. autoworkers are pushing for upwards of 40 per cent wage gains, while Unifor has not put out a number, saying only that it wants to see significant increases.

Along with higher wages, Unifor says its other key priorities are pensions and issues around job security and the transition to electric vehicles.

—With files from Global News

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