Unifor President Lana Payne declared Tuesday that she selected Ford Motor Company as the pattern-setting target for auto talks in 2023.
Payne talked Canadian auto workers down a very different path than the UAW for national auto talks.
She told General Motors and Stellantis negotiators to stand down until the Ford deal was reached, which is a long-standing tradition.
For its part, the United Auto Workers has taken a much more boisterous approach to its talks with the domestic three, shedding tradition.
Payne believes they can make the Sept. 18 deadline with Ford, strike free.
“We’ve made progress with them in a week,” Payne said. “We’ll see how it goes, but obviously, at this point in time, we wouldn’t have selected Ford as a target if we didn’t feel comfortable about where we could get to.”
Ford of Canada H. R. Vice President Steven Majer is obviously pleased Ford of Canada can now control its destiny.
“Ford of Canada and Unifor have a long track record of productive collaboration,” said Majer. “For our industry, this is a time like no other, and success requires us to adapt. At Ford, we are committed to finding new approaches, new solutions, and the flexibility required to be successful in the short- and long-term in Canada.”
“They don’t give a crap about their workers,” said UAW President Shawn Fain.
There were no such niceties from Fain.
“I’m going to file this agreement right where it belongs, in the trash,” Fain said.
Fain declares the domestic three the target and may not pick one at all.
Read: UAW: 97% of auto workers vote to authorize strike as contract deadline looms
Wayne State University Union Expert Dr. Marick Masters called Ford a wild card.
“I think that this could very well be something that makes a bold statement about the role of Ford in the upcoming round in the United States,” said Masters.
With worry across the industry, Fain might just strike all of the domestic three at once.
Masters believes Ford’s traditional role of wanting to work with the UAW could hold sway.
“I think that if they’re in the position to take, they can strike a real good deal with Ford that they could use as a template to take to the others, that would be the kind of deal that I think they should take rather than going on strike to send a message to the other two,” Masters said.
There is still the question of what happens to Canadian talks should the UAW really walk out on one or more of the companies on its Sept. 14 at midnight deadline, four days ahead of the Canadian deadline.
Payne said, for now, they’re worrying only about their negotiations with Ford.
The United Auto Workers had no comment after Unifor announced its decision Tuesday.
The US National agreement talks continued along with UAW locals nationwide doing rallies and picket training as the Sept. 14 deadline nears.
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