Ford Motor Company and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year national labor contract covering approximately 4,500 Ford unionized employees in Canada. The agreement came just hours before a strike deadline today. General Motors and Chrysler currently face potential walkouts at midnight. The CAW union is the largest private sector union in Canada with more than 200,000 members, but Ford because of its European, Mexican and U.S, production for North American vehicle sales is less vulnerable to a strike than Chrysler and GM.
CAW president Ken Lewenza said that Ford will create 600 new positions in Canada at a press conference late Monday in Toronto. The four-year agreement will see no base wage increases if the deal is approved, and employees would be eligible for a $3,000 bonus after ratification. There are also $2,000 cost of living bonuses annually in 2013-2015. Lewenza is asking Chrysler and General Motors – both so far strongly resisting – to accept the same deal.
The contract is subject to ratification by Ford CAW members so as usual Ford will not discuss the specifics of the agreement until it is approved. A contentious point was the CAW’s insistence that there would be no two-tier wage system such as the one in the U.S., that cuts new worker’s pay almost in half. Ford management insisted that the two-tier system be put in place for the first time, and with extended “grow in” provisions – to ten years – up from the six in place at the expired G.M. contract.
“We believe that the tentative agreement offers unique-to-Canada solutions that will improve the competitiveness of the Canadian operations while providing employees the opportunity to earn a good living, said Stacey Allerton, vice president, human resources, Ford Motor Company of Canada in a statement.