(Reuters) – Ford reached a tentative deal with a Canadian union late on Tuesday to avoid a walkout by Detroit’s three automakers as separate U.S. strikes by the United Auto Workers union could escalate.
Unifor, which represents about 5,600 Canadian automakers, had threatened to strike at all three Ford plants in the country if an agreement was not reached by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
The deal is subject to approval by UNIFOR members, Ford’s Canadian division said in a statement, not disclosing details of the interim agreement.
Unifor sought improved wages and pensions, as well as a transition to electric vehicles and a further investment commitment by Ford.
The Canadian union now turns to securing deals with General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellar, whose deadlines have been extended as Ford talks continue.
Unifor’s talks with Detroit Three Auto in Canada are separate from the UAW’s concerted action in the U.S. Last week, about 12,700 workers went on strike at one assembly plant at each of Detroit Three Auto.
The U.S. strikes halted plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Chevrolet Colorado, among other popular models.
The UAE announced on Friday that it would strike at several US factories if no serious progress is made in talks with auto manufacturers.
Ford said in a statement late Tuesday that it is developing contingency plans for further U.S. work stoppages, including plans to keep the parts that keep Ford vehicles on the road running, especially first responders and other essential services.
The US strike is heading into its sixth day. If the footfall continues, analysts expect plants that build more profitable pickup trucks, such as the Ford F-150, GM’s Chevy Silverado and Stellantis’ Ram, to be the next targets.
Analysts expect plants that build more profitable pickup trucks, such as the Ford F-150, GM’s Chevy Silverado and Stellantis’s Ram, to be the next strike targets if the walkout continues.
The UAW and companies do not agree on workers’ compensation and benefits. The three automakers proposed 20% raises over a 4-1/2-year period in their negotiations, though only half of what the UAW is asking for through 2027.
In addition to higher wages, the UAW wants shorter work weeks, the restoration of defined benefits and stronger job security as automakers transition to EVs.
In a statement, Ford said it continues to negotiate with the UAW toward an agreement that rewards workers and allows the company to invest and grow.
(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama and Rishab Jaiswal in Bengaluru and Ben Kleiman in Detroit; Editing by Richard Chang and Jamie Fried)