2023 Ford Super Duty F-350 Limited
DETROIT — Ford Motor‘s labor troubles could become an international issue that affects U.S. production of some pickup trucks, as Canadian union Unifor and the company have only hours to reach an agreement for roughly 5,600 autoworkers.
The sides have to reach a deal before an extended 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday deadline to avoid a potential strike. The initial deadline for the talks was Monday night, but the sides announced a 24-hour extension after the union received a “substantive offer” from Ford “minutes before the deadline.”
The potential Canadian work stoppage adds to pressure facing Ford days after the United Auto Workers called for targeted strikes against Ford and its crosstown rivals, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis.
A Unifor strike would disrupt Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant that produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers. It would also affect two engine plants that produce 7.3-liter and 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engines used in highly profitable products such as the Ford F-Series Super Duty and F-150 pickups and the Mustang muscle car.
An aerial view shows Ford’s Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada May 26, 2023.
Carlos Osorio | Reuters
If Unifor strikes against Ford, it would be the first time both unions have simultaneously gone on strike against a Detroit automaker over national contracts — marking another unprecedented labor move after the UAW struck all three of the Detroit automakers last week for the first time.
“Ford doesn’t want a strike anywhere. Having the extra pressure of Unifor is pushing Ford very hard to get a deal,” said Art Wheaton, a labor professor at the Worker Institute at Cornell University.
Unifor, whose auto members were part of the UAW until a split in the mid-1980s, confirmed talks are ongoing after they continued past the deadline into Tuesday morning.
If a prolonged Canadian strike occurs, the work stoppage could eventually impact U.S. production of the vehicles. The breadth of the effect depends on Ford’s engine stock and how much the company would want to focus on non-V8 gasoline engine models.
For F-150 and Mustang, Ford could increase production of four-cylinder and V6-powered engines, including EcoBoost ones that have made up the majority of sales since 2018. The company also could increase production of diesel engines for its larger Super Duty trucks.
Gasoline V8 models make up about 50% of Mustang and…