Ford union president says GM deal not template for its negotiations

OAKVILLE, Ont. – The president of the union local representing Ford employees in Oakville, Ont., says it’s not prepared to accept the template that secured a deal with General Motors.

“We as a local bargaining committee have sent a very clear message to Ford Motor Company and the national union that the framework agreement between GM and the membership will not suit the needs of the membership in Oakville,” Dave Thomas, president of Unifor Local 707, wrote in a message posted on the union’s website Tuesday.

“Investment in Canada was the No. 1 priority when we opened up bargaining but we all agreed that it would not be at the expense of the rest of the membership,” he said.

Thomas added that the local bargaining committee “will not sacrifice the needs of the membership in Oakville and settle on an agreement that doesn’t address our issues.”

Thomas said GM negotiators faced difficult decisions because there was no future investment planned for its operation in Oshawa, Ont.

That agreement includes a two per cent wage increase this year and another two per cent increase in September 2019.

There is also a $6,000 signing bonus plus lump sum bonuses, benefit improvements and a commitment by GM to invest $554 million in its Canadian operations.

Thomas warned that the union faces a difficult fight as it enters into bargaining with Ford later this month.

The GM agreement was meant to serve as a basis for Unifor as it moves on to its next round of bargaining with the so-called Detroit Three. Talks are currently underway with Fiat Chrysler.