With 48% of the automotive parts made in Canada exported to the U.S., escalating strike action south of the border is certain to impact Canadian job shops. PHOTO courtesy DMG Mori.
Canadian job shops serving the automotive sector are on alert as labor strife on both sides of the border could accelerate this week and impact their business.
On this side of the border, the contract between Ford and Unifor expires at 11:59 pm tonight. Unifor, the union representing thousands of auto workers in Canada, says talks are progressing between Ford and its bargaining committee but as of yet there is no deal. If no deal is reached, more than 5,000 Unifor members would be in a legal strike position.
“As the deadline approaches, Unifor members at Ford Motor Company are advised to be prepared for all scenarios, including strike action,” commented Unifor’s national president Lana Payne in an update to its members.
UPDATE: The strike deadline for Ford workers did end at midnight on Monday but was extended another 24 hours as the union had a new offer to consider.
“The union received a substantive offer from the employer minutes before the deadline and bargaining is continuing throughout the night,” the union said in a statement issued at around 1:40 a.m. ET Tuesday.
Unifor is looking for a deal that will improve pensions and wages for its members as well as provide support for the transition to electric vehicles. Strike action at Ford would threaten to upset the uptick in automotive business activity Canadian job shops have enjoyed in recent months.
It would also spread the labor strife beyond the U.S. where 13,000 United Auto Workers (UAW) union members have been on strike since last week after failing to reach a deal with the Detroit ThreeꟷFord, General Motors and Stellantisꟷon a new contract. The strike is currently singling out one plant at each of the three manufacturers.
With 48% of the automotive parts made in Canada exported to the U.S., escalating strike action south of the border is certain to impact Canadian job shops.
“Any shutdown in operations, you’re a day or two away from idling capacity,” Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which represents Canadian producers of automotive parts and equipment, commented in a BNN Bloomberg television interview.