TORONTO—The union representing workers at the Canadian operations of the major American automakers has received a strike mandate from its members as it prepares to negotiate contracts.
Unifor says its members at General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobile voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action to back contract demands.
Unifor President Jerry Dias says the clear mandate shows full support for the union’s bargaining committees.
He says the union won’t accept deals with any of the three automakers unless they show a commitment to invest in Canada’s auto sector.
The union is threatening job action if it doesn’t get an agreement before midnight on Sept. 19.
Dias says the three companies have done well financially since the last contracts were negotiated four years ago and it’s time to reward workers.
“Our demand for new investment is not just about us. It is about maintaining and creating good paying jobs, it’s about our communities and it’s about the next generation,” Dias says in a statement released Sunday.
Last month, Dias said that negotiating wage increases and other benefits would be moot if there are no plants in Canada to employ the workers.
The union will select one of the automakers to start negotiations and use the contract reached with that company as a pattern for negotiations with the other two companies.
Unifor says it will announce which company will be first up in negotiations on Sept. 6.
Unifor represents some 23,000 workers at the three companies and is Canada’s largest private sector union boasting more than 300,000 members in all.