TORONTO Oct 3 Workers at a major Ford Motor Co
plant in Ontario are unhappy with a contract their union
reached with General Motors Co and would likely vote down
a similar agreement, a senior local union official said on
Ford's Oakville, Ontario, workers want a more generous deal
that would shorten the time it takes new hires to reach the top
of the pay grid, said Dave Thomas, president of main Canadian
autoworkers union Unifor's Local 707.
"That framework that GM has set forward won't ratify in
Oakville," he said in an interview. "My members have huge
The local makes up the majority of Ford's unionized Canadian
workforce, giving it a strong influence in a ratification vote.
Unifor has a longstanding practice of "pattern bargaining,"
selecting one automaker to negotiate with and then holding the
other two to the terms of that deal. It reached an agreement
with GM last month.
It is not clear how national union officials could address
Thomas's concerns without deviating from the pattern.
"We'll deal with Ford when we get there," said Unifor
National President Jerry Dias. "The 707 leadership is listening
to their members, and so we'll see where that takes us."
Dias said there were always some differences among the
automakers, noting that in the last contract, GM was allowed to
hire some temporary employees. But he said he remained committed
to pattern bargaining.
"Pattern bargaining benefits all of our members," he said.
"Sometimes you're at the top of the hill, other times you're at
Any Ford vote is weeks away, as Unifor officials have yet to
reach a tentative agreement with the company. The union is
currently bargaining mainly with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV
and has set a strike deadline for Oct. 10.
The GM deal maintained a 10-year earn-in for new hires,
while spreading out raises so some workers get pay boosts
earlier than before. But the core of the deal was a commitment
to invest C$400 million ($305 million) in the GM Oshawa
assembly, saving jobs at the plant.
Ford's bargaining committee is looking for new investment at
the company's Windsor, Ontario, engine plants, but Oakville,
which won the new Ford Edge crossover in 2014, does not need new
commitments in the short term.
Oakville workers outnumber Windsor's 5,000 to 1,700 and
could reject any deal on their own.
($1 = 1.3133 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)