MOTOR CITY — Due to the fact that Canadian union Unifor and the company have only hours to come to an agreement for approximately 5,600 autoworkers, the labor issues that have plagued Ford Motor could become an international issue that has an effect on the production of some pickup trucks in the United States.
In order to avoid a potential strike on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, the parties involved need to come to an agreement before the extended deadline. The initial deadline for the talks set for Monday night; however, the parties have agreed to extend the deadline by 24 hours after the union received a “substantive offer” from Ford “minutes before the deadline.”
The possibility of a work stoppage in Canada adds to the pressure that Ford is currently under. This comes just a few days after the United Auto Workers called for targeted strikes against Ford. As well as its crosstown competitors General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis.
A strike by Unifor would cause production delays at Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant. Which makes crossover vehicles like the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus. It would also have an effect on two engine plants that produce 7.3-liter and 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engines. These engines utilized in extremely lucrative products such as the Ford F-Series Super Duty and F-150 pickups as well as the Mustang muscle car.
In the event that Unifor goes on strike against Ford, it will be the first time that both unions have simultaneously gone on strike against a Detroit automaker over national contracts. This will mark another unprecedented labor move following the United Auto Workers’ strike against all three Detroit automakers for the first time last week.
“Ford does not desire a strike in any location. According to Art Wheaton, a labor professor at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, “Ford is being pushed very hard to get a deal because of the additional pressure that is being applied by Unifor.”
Unifor, whose auto members were a part of the UAW until a split in the middle of the 1980s, confirmed that discussions are still going on after they continued past the deadline and into the morning of Tuesday.
It’s possible that the Ford-Series and Mustang will be affected
In the event that a strike in Canada continues for an extended period of time. The work stoppage may eventually have an effect on the production of vehicles in the United States. The scope of the effect is contingent on Ford’s existing engine stock as well as the degree. To which the company would like to prioritize gasoline engine models that do not contain a V8.
Ford may choose to increase production of four-cylinder and V6-powered engines for the F-150 and the Mustang. These engines may include EcoBoost variants, which have accounted for the vast majority of sales since 2018. Additionally, the company may choose to ramp up production of diesel engines for the larger Super Duty trucks they manufacture.
In the United States, sales of gasoline V8 models account for approximately half of all Mustangs and twenty percent of all F-150s. Large F-Series trucks always have V8 engines. According to the information provided by the company. However, the vast majority of those vehicles that were sold were equipped with diesel V8 engines rather than gasoline engines. The plant that manufactures those engines is located in Mexico, not in Canada.
In a statement released early on Tuesday morning, Ford said about the talks. “We will continue to work collaboratively with Unifor to create a blueprint for the automotive industry that supports a vibrant and sustainable future in Canada.” Unifor is the Canadian labor union.
In comparison to its counterpart in the United States, the Canadian branch of Unifor, which represents 18,000 workers employed by Detroit automakers. Took a more conventional approach to the negotiations. Instead of following the new bargaining strategy of the UAW, which involves negotiations with all three automakers. The Canadian union has chosen Ford as its “target” company. Additionally, it announced that in the event that targeted strikes were not successful. A general national strike would be carried out.
Lana Payne, the national president of Unifor, made this statement a few hours before the initial deadline. She stated that the union and Ford were “not where we need to be on key priority issues,” such as wages and pensions. She mentioned that the last time automakers in Canada went on strike was in the year 1990.
It was as simple as that, according to what she had said: “We need Ford to deliver more to meet the expectations and demands of our members.”
Connection to the UAW
Payne stated that the union has been keeping an eye on the negotiations conducted by the UAW. And she has been “in touch” with the American union. Including a conversation that took place on Monday with UAW President Shawn Fain. The United Auto Workers (UAW) and Unifor have shown solidarity toward one another in the lead-up to the talks. And they have continued to publicly support one another.
Ford and Unifor both had their respective spokespeople decline to comment on the specifics of the company’s proposal that resulted in the union agreeing to the extension of the deadline.
During automotive collective bargaining, it has traditionally been common practice to extend the deadlines of contracts. Despite this, Fain did not agree to do it. In an unorthodox move, he also established a second deadline for additional strikes to be announced on Friday. If “serious progress” is not made in the negotiations by that time.
“For decades, the automakers have engaged in whipsawing, in which they attempt to pit the United States of America against Canada. Shawn Fain turned the tables on them and is using the same or a similar strategy to urge the bargaining. According to Wheaton, a professor of labor studies at Cornell University.
In the event that the strikes organized by Unifor do not have an effect on the production of the F-Series. Expanded strikes organized by the UAW are scheduled to begin on Friday. Analyst Dan Levy from Barclays said on Tuesday that “large pickup plants could be targeted”. By the UAW in the next phase of their strike against the Detroit automakers, also known as the D3.
In a note to investors, he stated, “As a reminder, large pickups are the profit engines for the D3,”. Pointing out that each has robust inventories of the vehicles, and adding that “As a reminder, large pickups are the profit engines for the D3.”
According to Cox Automotive, the “days-supply” of Ford’s F-Series pickups was at 87 days to start September. Including 64 for the larger Super Duty trucks. GM’s Chevrolet Silverado was at 79 days, and GMC Sierra was at 70 days; and Stellantis’ Ram was at 119 days.
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