‘Home run’: Ford, Unifor reach tentative agreement on new contract, electric-vehicle investment

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Even so, Dias said Unifor currently has around 3,400 members at Ford’s Oakville plant. Based on the company’s projections, and with the move to electric-vehicle manufacturing, that number could fall to about 3,000, he said.

“But if I take a look at those members today who are retirement-eligible, we should be in pretty good shape,” Dias added. “So is the footprint going to be comparable? The answer is yes.”

Ford’s plant in Windsor builds engines, and it will be getting a new 6.8-litre engine to manufacture, Dias said. That product, he added, will be introduced in 2022 and “will stabilize the employment and quite likely create new opportunities.” 

Dias and Unifor have said the government has a role to play in keeping the country’s auto sector afloat, and the union thanked the federal and provincial governments on Tuesday for putting up unspecified funding commitments that were “key” to securing the new investment from Ford.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday that his government plans on contributing an investment to Ford’s Oakville plant. Photo by John Lappa/Sudbury Star files

A spokesperson for Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said in a statement to the Post that “our government will be at the table to negotiate the terms of this agreement with Ford and the federal government, and will be making a meaningful contribution.”

Although Dias said he would wait for the federal government to announce the amount of money they had committed, he said they had indeed committed funds.

In addition to nailing down new and existing products and investment from the three companies, Unifor has said it wants improved wages and pensions for members employed by the Detroit Three. Dias didn’t go into too many details of the new contract with Ford on Tuesday, saying he first wanted to present them to union members, but did tell reporters he was pleased with the wages and “economics” of the tentative deal.