Detroit Three Strike Target ID’d Tuesday; Unifor Looks to Bring Public Cash Onside

With its members having recently voted to strike if bargaining teams don’t make headway, Canadian autoworkers union Unifor plans to reveal its first target next Tuesday. Contract talks kicked off last month, with Unifor aiming to maintain, at the very least, the current complement of Detroit Three workers north of the border.

With the auto industry in continued retreat in Canada, Unifor knows that the next four years could be the term in which one of the Detroit Three ceases to manufacture vehicles on Canuck soil. What’s left in the country is starting to look threadbare and futureless. Maybe some public cash will sweeten the landscape?

The governments of Canada and the province of Ontario have historically ponied up bushels of cash to retain auto jobs, and things don’t seem to have changed on that front. Unifor’s counting on the taps opening up.

“On Tuesday I will announce the company that I believe will give Unifor the best chance to address our bargaining agenda and our vision for the industry, including job security issues, new product allocations and economic progress for our members,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a release.

“We will also continue to push provincial and federal governments to be active participants in support of our efforts to secure our auto industry’s future. A future made in Canada.”

The deal eventually hammered out with Unifor’s initial target will set a course the other two will have to follow. Chances are it won’t be Fiat Chrysler. Whoever it is, there’s a September 21st strike deadline to consider — and last fall’s GM walkout illustrates that unions aren’t afraid to use the tactic.

Of course, GM and others depend vastly less on Canada for its new rolling stock, diminishing Unifor’s hand at the bargaining table.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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