A tentative agreement between Unifor and Ford Motor Co. of Canada remained elusive Monday evening, but the union extended its strike deadline for a 24-hour period as the two sides planned to negotiate through the night after the automaker made what was called a "substantive offer."
The 2020 contract expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Monday and Unifor was in a position to strike at 12 a.m. Tuesday. At about 1:40 a.m. ET Tuesday, the union issued a statement.
"Unifor is extending negotiations with Ford Motor Company for a 24-hour period. The union received a substantive offer from the employer minutes before the deadline and bargaining is continuing throughout the night," the union said. "Unifor members should continue to maintain strike readiness."
President Lana Payne told members late Monday night, prior to the recent offer, that the likelihood of a strike was a "strong possibility."
"If there is a strike, this will be a total strike. Every single one of Unifor’s 5,600 members at Ford in Canada will be on picket lines. Our Oakville assembly plant, our Windsor powertrain operations, our parts distribution centers, our office and technical units, everyone together.”
Ford said in a statement it had agreed to continue negotiations beyond the contract deadline in hopes of reaching a tentative agreement.
Payne said a strike is not the union's desired outcome, but Unifor plans to use Ford's "small, but highly consequential" Canadian footprint as leverage to secure its demands.
Ford builds engines for its F-Series pickups and several other vehicles in Windsor, while its Oakville assembly plant builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus.
Unifor locals have been prepping members for a potential strike throughout the day.