Steel Markets

Canadian Union Sets Issues Ahead of Talks With Detroit Automakers

A Canadian union put forward its top-of-mind issues at the Unifor Special Auto Council May 17-18 in London, Ontario, as it prepares for labor talks with the Detroit Three automakers this summer. 

autoUnifor—which represents Canadian auto workers, among others—said the main areas of focus will be pensions, wages, transition plans for the shift to electric vehicle production, and confirmation of new investments and product lines.

“This is going to be a big year. One of the most closely watched and highly anticipated rounds of Detroit Three bargaining that we’ve seen in a long time,” Lana Payne, Unifor national president, said in a press release on Thursday, May 18.

Unifor said contract negotiations for the union’s 20,000 auto sector members with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis will get underway in August. The union has not yet announced which company will be selected to set the contract pattern for the remaining rounds of bargaining with the other companies.

Recall that in the US the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s labor contracts with the Big Three all expire on Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m. Contract talks are also expected to get underway this summer.   

Payne said the Special Auto Council worked to identify key, overarching priorities amid hundreds of specific proposals put forward by members. “Our members expect us to deliver and they deserve it,” she said. 

Concerns raised by Council delegates included rising inflation, income security during retooling for EV production, hiring and retention challenges including for skilled trades and the unionization of new EV facilities, among others.

By Ethan Bernard,

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