TORONTO—Formal talks between the Big Three American automakers and Unifor, the union representing more than 40,000 Canadian autoworkers, are poised to begin in Toronto this week—and according to the union’s National President, Jerry Dias, they may be the “most important” contract talks in a generation.
“There will be no deals with any of the companies without commitments from each of them for investments in Canada,” Dias said, establishing a baseline ahead of the negotiations.
Union representatives will meet with General Motors brass Wednesday, followed by bargaining committees from Ford and Fiat Chrysler Canada Thursday.
In the months and weeks leading up to the talks, Unifor has maintained new vehicle programs and concrete investments in Canada are the priority.
“The automakers’ relative health and the strength of the North American auto market make now the ideal time to invest,” Dias said.
The union anticipates negotiations to continue with the automakers until the end of the month. Existing contracts expire Sept. 19, putting the two sides in a strike or lockout position if new deals have not been ratified by that time.