Ford reaches tentative labour deal in Canada, avoids strike

Stefan Baumgarten


TORONTO (ICIS)–Ford and labour union Unifor have reached a tentative three-year collective deal for about 5,600 Ford auto workers in Canada, thus avoiding a strike.

After Unifor extended its strike deadline, the deal was reached late on Tuesday (19 September) – covering wages and pensions, as well as job security amid the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

Neither Ford nor Unifor disclosed details as the deal is still subject to ratification by Unifor members.

Unifor will use the deal as a template in upcoming negotiations with General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, it has said.

A strike would have hit a Ford assembly plant at Oakville, west of Toronto, along with two engine plants in Windsor, at the US border to Detroit, and two parts distribution centres. The Oakville plant is due to start building EVs next year.

Meanwhile, in the US a strike by about 13,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) members at three plants – one each by GM, Ford, and Stellantis – entered its sixth day on Wednesday.

UAW’s president Shawn Fain has said that the strike would be extended to other plants if the Big Three Detroit automakers “have not made substantial progress toward a fair agreement” by noon on Friday, 22 September.

US-Canada auto manufacturing is tightly integrated, with disruptions in either country affecting suppliers from the chemicals, plastics and other industries on both sides of the border.

The petrochemicals industry is paying close attention because an extended  auto strike in the US would massively disrupt demand for polymers. A typical vehicle contains nearly $3,950 of chemistry including chemical products and chemical processing.

The automotive industry is a major global consumer of petrochemicals that contributes more than one-third of the raw material costs of an average vehicle.

The automotive sector drives demand for chemicals such as polypropylene (PP), along with nylon, polystyrene (PS), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polyurethane (PU), methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

Additional reporting by Adam Yanelli, Al Greenwood and Joseph Chang

Please also visit the ICIS automotive topic page

Thumbnail photo shows a Ford Edge vehicle, which is assembled at the Oakville plant west of Toronto; photo source: Ford


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