Canada Union Sets Oct. 29 Strike Deadline for Stellantis

Unifor to Resume Talks With Jeep Maker Today
Stellantis sign
The Stellantis sign outside the Chrysler Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich. (Carlos Osorio, AP)

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The Canadian auto workers union has declared 11:59 p.m. Oct. 29 as the strike deadline to obtain a tentative agreement with the maker of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.

Unifor will resume talks with Stellantis NV on Oct. 18. A deal there would be the third for the union after General Motors Co. workers on Oct. 15 overwhelmingly ratified a contract that follows the pattern started by Ford Motor Co.

“Our union is looking forward to this next, and final round of talks with the Detroit automakers to secure the terms of our Canadian pattern and to make important additional gains on various Stellantis-specific workplace issues,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a statement. “We also have the added challenge of negotiating future product commitments for the Brampton Assembly plant that secures a future for all of our Stellantis members in the EV transition.”

Unifor represents more than 8,200 members at Stellantis facilities in Canada — more than the other two automakers. Those members are at the Chrysler Pacifica minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario; Dodge muscle car and Chrysler 300 plant in Brampton, Ontario; Etobicoke Casting Plant, Red Deer Parts Distribution Centre and Mississauga Parts Distribution Centre.

“We look forward to productive ongoing discussions with Unifor and are confident we will reach an agreement that both rewards the contributions of our employees, as well as ensures our future competitiveness in today’s rapidly evolving industry,” said a Stellantis statement provided by spokesperson LouAnn Gosselin.

Unifor leaders said in their statement that the union expected to follow the pattern set at Stellantis’ Detroit rivals. Those three-year agreements outline a 10% wage increase in the first year, a 2% hike in the second year and a 3% raise in the final year. They also include a decreased timeline to the top wage to four years from eight, cost-of-living adjustments, converting temporary workers to permanent status, increased retirement contributions, a quarterly health care allowance for retirees and product commitments.

Neither company made their original deadlines put forth by Unifor. The union extended the deadline in its talks with Ford. With GM, 4,300 workers went on strike for about 13 hours on Oct. 9 before a deal was announced.

Stellantis already has announced a $2.6 billion investment for electric and other alternative fuel systems in its Brampton and Windsor plants. Windsor Assembly is undergoing retooling now — one of the reasons Payne cited for less leverage at the negotiating table with Stellantis in the selection of GM as the second target. Production at Brampton finishes at the end of the year.

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Stellantis also has the additional complexity compared to GM and Ford in that it has an electric-vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Canada. Its NextStar Energy joint venture with LG Energy Solution is slated to launch production in the first quarter of 2024 in Windsor. The company has begun hiring for its launch team, but the workforce hasn’t been unionized.

The United Auto Workers in the United States earlier this month said GM had agreed to include organized workers at the automaker’s Ultium Cells battery plant with LGES in Warren, Ohio, in its master agreement alongside assembly and other production workers. The union has said it wants Stellantis and Ford to follow, even though their plants have yet to begin production, let alone become organized. Stellantis has announced two battery plants with Samsung SDI under StarPlus Energy in Kokomo, Ind.

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