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Detroit – FordCanadian union Unifor and the company say labor issues could become an international issue affecting some U.S. pickup truck production There were only hours to reach an agreement for some 5,600 autoworkers.

The two sides must reach an agreement before Tuesday’s extended deadline of 11:59 p.m. to avoid a potential strike. The initial deadline for negotiations was Monday night, but the two sides announced a 24-hour extension after the union received a “substantial proposal” from Ford “minutes before the deadline.”

The potential shutdown in Canada adds to pressure on Ford, days after the United Auto Workers union called for targeted strikes against the automaker and its cross-town rivals. General Motors and Chrysler parent company star.

Unifor strike to disrupt Ford oakville assembly plant Produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossover vehicles. It would also affect two engine plants that make 7.3-liter and 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engines used in high-margin products such as Ford’s F-Series Super Duty and F-150 pickup trucks and the Mustang muscle car.

An aerial view of the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada on May 26, 2023.

Carlos Osorio | Reuters

If Unifor launches a strike against Ford, it would be the first time two unions have simultaneously struck against a Detroit automaker over national contract issues, marking the first time the UAW has struck all three Detroit automakers last week. An unprecedented industrial action.

“Ford doesn’t want a strike anywhere. The additional pressure from Unifor makes it difficult for Ford to reach a deal,” said Art Wheaton, a labor professor at Ford. workers association at Cornell University.

Unifor, whose automotive members were part of the UAW until it split in the mid-1980s, continued after the deadline passed and into Tuesday morning, the company confirmed talks were continuing.

F-Series, Mustang may be subverted

If a prolonged strike occurs in Canada, the shutdown could eventually affect U.S. vehicle production. The breadth of the impact will depend on Ford’s engine inventory and the company’s focus on non-V8 gasoline models.

For the F-150 and Mustang, Ford is likely to increase production of four-cylinder and V6-powered engines, including the EcoBoost engine that has accounted for the majority of sales since 2018. The company may also increase production of diesel engines for its larger Super Duty trucks.

Gasoline V8 models make up about 50 percent of Mustang models, and about 20 percent of F-150 models sold in the U.S. are large F-Series trucks equipped only with V8 engines. But according to the company, most vehicles sold are equipped with diesel V8 engines, not gasoline engines. The engines are built in a factory in Mexico, not Canada.

On August 10, 2022, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, announced her as its new president, replacing outgoing leaders Jerry Dias and Lana Payne Give a speech on stage.

COLBERSTON | Reuters

“We will continue to work with Unifor to develop a blueprint for the automotive industry that supports Canada’s vibrant and sustainable future,” Ford said. said in a statement about talks earlier Tuesday.

Unifor, which represents 18,000 Canadian workers at the Detroit automaker, has taken a more traditional approach to negotiations than its U.S. peers. The Canadian union chose Ford as its “target” company rather than follow the United Auto Workers’ new strategy of bargaining with all three automakers. It has also announced a traditional nationwide strike, if needed, rather than targeted strikes.

Hours before the original deadline, Unifor National President Lana Payne union says Ford and Ford are “not where we need to be on key priority issues,” including wages and pensions. She noted that the last time Canadian automakers went on strike was in 1990.

“We need more from Ford to meet the expectations and demands of our members, it’s that simple,” she said.

UAW connection

Payne said the union has been monitoring UAW negotiations and she has been “in constant contact” with the UAW, including on Monday With United Auto Workers President Sean Fein. The UAW and Unifor have shown solidarity ahead of the talks and continue to publicly support each other.

Spokespeople for Ford and Unifor declined to comment on the details of the companies’ proposal, which prompted the unions to agree to extend the deadline.

Extending contract periods has historically been common in automotive collective bargaining. However, Finn refused to do so. He also unconventionally set a second deadline of noon on Friday to announce additional strikes if talks don’t make “significant progress” by then.

“Automakers have been trying to pit the U.S. against Canada for decades… Shawn Fain has flipped the table on them and is using the same or similar tactics to drive a bargain,” Whitten said.

If the Unifor strike doesn’t affect F-Series production, an expanded strike by the UAW starting Friday could. Barclays analyst Dan Levy said on Tuesday that the UAW’s next move could be to target “big pickup plants.” Detroit automaker, also known as D3.

“As a reminder, large pickup trucks are D3’s profit engine,” he wrote in an investor note, noting that each company has a large inventory of vehicles.

Cox Automotive reports that starting in September, Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks have 87 days of supply, including 64 days for the large Super Duty truck; General Motors’ Chevrolet Silverado has 79 days of supply, and the GMC Sierra has 79 days of supply. is 70 days old; Ram of Stellantis is already 119 days old.

– CNBC Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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