“It’s been a tough environment in recent years between COVID, between the economic pressures with inflation, with housing prices, and that’s something the entire industry is having to reconcile.”
A counterbalance to high levels of inflation is “something that’s going to be on the table through these negotiations,” the official added.
Income security for workers in Oakville when Ford’s assembly plant shuts down for retooling next year, is also likely to be among the key issues the company will “need to address together with Unifor,” as part of the talks, the official said.
From the automaker’s side, the official pointed to competitiveness and the role of new technology as among the top areas of focus.
“Over the course of this agreement, we’re going to need to talk about how we work, how our best competitors are working, and we’re going to need to work as they do, or better, to make sure that we continue to grow these jobs.”
As Unifor prepares for bargaining with Ford’s Canadian unit, the union’s American counterpart, the United Auto Workers, is also gearing up for talks with Ford and the two other members of the Detroit Three in the United States.
It is the first time the two unions have bargained with the three automakers in the same year since before Unifor’s formation. The Canadian Auto Workers, one of the unions that merged to form Unifor in 2013, last bargained simultaneously with the UAW in 1999.
The official said Ford Canada will “keep abreast” of developments in the United States, but stay focused on Canada.