Unifor Detroit Three autoworkers vote for strike mandate, mirrors U.S. counterpart

TORONTO — Canadian and U.S. autoworkers are both negotiating with the Detroit Three carmakers for the first time in 25 years, creating the potential for a co-ordinated strike against one of the major producers.

York University associate professor Steven Tufts says the strong strike mandate from Canadian autoworkers delivered this past weekend gives the union a chance to put more pressure on the carmakers.

Tufts says while Unifor and UAW are bargaining at the same time, both unions have separate goals for their workers.

He says Unifor is focused on securing more investments and expanding its manufacturing base while its U.S. auto counterpart is looking at a 40 per cent cumulative wage gain.

Workers at the Canadian arms of Ford, General Motors and Stellantis voted between 98 per cent and 99 per cent in favour of allowing Unifor to call a strike if bargaining committees fail to secure the collective agreements.

In the U.S., members of the United Auto Workers union have also handed down a strike mandate with 97 per cent of members in favour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press