Workers with Canadian union Unifor vote in favor of Ford contract

Sept 24 (Reuters) – Canadian labor union Unifor said on Sunday its members had voted to ratify a new contract with Ford Motor (F.N), a relief for the Detroit automaker locked in a separate tussle with its U.S. union over demands for better pay and benefits in the country.

Unifor, which represents about 5,600 Canadian auto workers, said its members at Ford ratified a new three-year collective agreement.

Ford has offered the union members wage increases of up to 25% in its new contract. The agreement provides a 10% wage increase for the first year followed by increases of 2% and 3% through the second and third years and a $10,000 productivity and quality bonus to all employees on the active roll of the company.

The Detroit automaker reached a last-minute deal earlier this week, preventing walkouts at its Canadian operations. On Friday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced an expansion of its U.S. strikes against General Motors (GM.N) and Stellantis (STLAM.MI).

The UAW said it had made real progress in talks with Ford, but that its workers would remain on strike at the automaker’s Wayne, Michigan, assembly plant.

Unifor had sought improved wages and pensions, support in the transition to electric vehicles and additional investment commitments from Ford. The union has yet to reach a deal with Stellantis and GM to avoid walkouts at their Canadian facilities.

Ford’s new deal covers Unifor members at the company’s plants in Ontario, as well as its parts distribution centers in Bramalea and Paris, Ontario, and in Alberta.

Unlike the UAW, Unifor chose one of the Detroit Three as a “target” to negotiate with first – in this case, Ford – in a pattern bargaining tactic used to set the tone for subsequent deals with other companies.

Reporting by Nathan Gomes and Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru Editing by Pooja Desai and Matthew Lewis