Stellantis NV, which struck a tentative deal with the United Auto Workers on Saturday, is now negotiating to head off a strike at its Canadian operations.
Unifor, the union that represents Canadian autoworkers, is trying to get the carmaker to match new three-year deals it signed with Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. It has said workers will walk out if there’s no deal by 11:59 p.m. Toronto time on Sunday.
While Unifor President Lana Payne said earlier this month that she expected some resistance from Stellantis, the union said Friday there’s been progress in the talks. The UAW targeted all three Detroit automakers at once — and it expanded US strikes this weekend against GM, the lone holdout. But Unifor has followed a traditional
“pattern bargaining” approach, targeting one company then trying to get the other two to match it. The Ford agreement in Canada included a nearly 20% increase in the base hourly wage for production workers and 25% for skilled trades over the life of the contract, as well as bonuses and cost-of-living adjustments. GM agreed to similar terms after a brief strike on Oct. 10.
“Stellantis is just going to have to give in because that’s the new standard for pay for a Canadian auto worker,” said Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global vehicle forecasting at Pennsylvania-based AutoForecast Solutions. “It’s very difficult to argue when the two other companies — that combined probably have as many workers as you do — are paying those wages.”
Unifor has been “less combative” because it doesn’t have “the baggage that the UAW has right now,” Fiorani said in a phone interview.
“UAW President Shawn Fain has been trying to prove that he’s not the product his predecessor regimes,” he said. “He’s been going out of his way to make sure that the membership and that the car companies know that he’s not in their back pocket, that he’s not going to just give in to whatever they want, that he’s there to make sure that the workers get better pay and better benefits.”
The UAW also has to negotiate harder on health-care benefits for employees and retirees, Fiorani note, whereas most health care in Canada is covered by a government-sponsored system.
Beyond pay and pensions, one of Unifor’s key issues is confirming future investments in Canadian plants. Stellantis has previously committed to pumping money into its two Ontario assembly plants for the industry’s transition to hybrid and electric vehicles. Those two facilities, including a satellite stamping plant, have about 6,000 employees combined, according to Stellantis’s website. The company makes Dodge Charger and Chrysler Pacifica vehicles in the country, among other models.
Stellantis’s UAW agreement includes a 25% hourly pay raise plus cost-of-living allowances over the more-than-four-year contract, matching Ford’s agreement earlier this week, the union said in a statement Saturday. By April 2028, this will bring the top wage to over $42 an hour, the union said.
Source: BNN Bloomberg