Labor deadline passes at Ford plants in Canada without word of strike or deal

A midnight ET deadline for a new labor contract at Ford plants in Canada with labor union Unifor passed without word of the status of the contracts.

Unifor’s most recent update, late on Monday night, said negotiations were ongoing.

“Negotiations between Unifor and Ford Motor Company are continuing with a late caucus meeting scheduled to take place within the hour,” the union said on its website

The notice to membership posted just before the midnight deadline advised those working overnight shifts at Ford facilities to stay on the job unless they were specifically informed by the union of the start of a strike.

“A reminder that Unifor Ford members should remain on shift UNLESS they receive explicit instructions from the union indicating otherwise,” according to the posting.

The contract between Ford and Unifor was set to expire at 11:59 pm ET Monday, four days after US contracts expired between the United Auto Workers union and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the automaker that makes vehicles under the Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Chrysler names.

In a recording for members earlier in the evening Unifor President Lana Payne said the two sides were still far apart.

“We have made progress in important areas,” she said in the 7:30 pm ET recording, but added, “we are not where we need to be on key priority issues.” The union had said besides wages, its major bargaining goals revolved around benefits, particularly pension benefits, as well as job protections as the auto industry plans its transition from traditional gas-powered vehicles to electric vehicles.

Those mirror many of the same issues at the center of the strike by the UAW against Ford as well as GM and Stellantis that began early Friday.

“As some of you will know from experience, a lot can happen in final hours of deadline bargaining,” Payne said in her earlier remarks. “But we know where we stand here. We need Ford to deliver more to meet our members expectations.”

Ford traditionally had the best relations with its unions of any US automaker. It has not had a strike in its Canadian operations since 1990 and has not had a US strike since 1978.

This is a developing story. It will be updated.

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