The midnight ET deadline for a new labor contract at Ford plants in Canada with the Unifor union has passed without knowing where the contracts stand.
Unifor’s latest update, released Monday evening, indicated negotiations were ongoing.
“Negotiations between Unifor and Ford Motor Company continue with a late caucus meeting expected to take place in an hour,” the union said on its website.
The notice to members issued just before the midnight deadline advised those who worked night shifts at Ford plants to stay on the job unless they were specifically notified by the union of the start of a strike.
“A reminder that Unifor Ford members must remain on the job UNLESS they receive explicit instructions from the union stating otherwise,” according to the posting.
The contract between Ford and Unifor was set to expire Monday at 11:59 p.m. ET, four days after the expiration of U.S. contracts between the United Auto Workers union and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the automaker that makes vehicles under the Jeep brands, Ram, Dodge. and the Chrysler names.
In a recording for members earlier in the evening, Unifor president Lana Payne said the two sides were still very far apart.
“We have made progress in important areas,” she said in the 7:30 p.m. ET recording, but added: “we are not where we need to be on key priority issues.” The union had said that besides wages, its main negotiating goals revolved around benefits, particularly pensions, as well as job protection, as the auto industry considers a shift from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles.
These reflect many of the same issues that are at the center of the UAW strike against Ford as well as GM and Stellantis that began early Friday.
“As some of you know from experience, a lot can happen in the final hours of deadline negotiations,” Payne said in his earlier remarks. “But we know where we are here. We need Ford to do more to meet our members’ expectations.
Ford traditionally has the best relations with its unions of any U.S. automaker. There has not been a strike in its Canadian operations since 1990 and there has not been a strike in the United States since 1978.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.