Ford narrowly avoided a dual labor strike in the United States and Canada with the automaker and the Canadian union, Unifor, announcing a tentative deal late Tuesday.
Unifor, which represents roughly 18,000 workers at Ford, GM and Stellantis plants in Canada, threatened to go on strike at all three of Ford’s plants in the country if a deal was not reached by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, September 19.
“We leveraged our union’s most powerful weapon: the right to strike,” Unifor said of the tentative deal in a statement. “The gains achieved were hard fought for over weeks of negotiation.”
A Unifor strike would have impacted Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant which produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers as well as two engine plants that produce V8 engines.
The agreement remains subject to ratification by Unifor members, Ford’s Canada unit said in a press release. Due to the tentative agreement, the strike’s deadline has been extended for 24-hours.
Unifor said in a press release that workers are seeking wage increases of 36% over four years, improved pensions, as well as support in the transition to electric vehicles and additional investment commitments by Ford.
The union said that their tentative agreement with will act as a model with General Motors and Stellantis, whose deadlines had been extended while the Ford talks proceed.
Ford Motors will now turn their attention to the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the U.S., which has continued striking at three Big Three plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri that produce the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Colorado and other models.
In a video statement late Monday, UAW President Shawn Fain said workers at more factories will join those who are striking unless there is “serious progress” in the talks.
“We’re not going to keep waiting around forever while they drag this out … and we’re not messing around,” Fain said in announcing the noon Eastern time Friday, September 22 deadline for escalating the strike. The union plans to disclose the locations of new strikes during an online presentation to members that morning.
Reuters contributed to this report.