Unifor Local 200 membership to meet over issues with new Ford contract


A meeting will be held this week in Windsor for members of Unifor Local 200 to voice concerns over the recently ratified contract with Ford Motor Company.

Local 200 President John D'Agnolo says the skilled trade membership voted against the contract and this meeting will be a chance for those members to express their concerns and go over their issues.

Unifor Ford members voted 54 per cent in favour of the three-year collective agreement, a deal which covers more than 5,600 workers at Ford facilities in Windsor, Oakville and other sites in Canada.

D'Agnolo, who also served as Ford Master Bargaining Chair, says one of the biggest issues they've heard about has been around pensions.

"Meetings could be heat but it gives them the opportunity to view their concerns, that's ok. It's not the first time we've had these types of meetings. I think it's the right thing to do anyway, sit down with the trades and listen to their concerns," he says.

The membership will meet Thursday at the union hall on Turner Road to discuss the contract details.

D'Agnolo says he can't tell someone how to feel about this but they want the membership to know this is a contract for everyone, not one specific group.

"I've looked at my group, obviously a lot of our members can retire in the next couple of years. We have a very senior workforce in Windsor and it reflected in the numbers because they really did want a lot more on their pensions," he says.

Included in the pension improvements in the contract, a production worker retiring at 30 years, under the '30-and-Out' pension program, will see an increase to their monthly pension from $3,545 to $3,795. For Skilled Trades, their '30-and-Out' pension will increase from $3,925 to $4,225.

D'Agnolo says when it comes to the economics, you can't change it.

"If they have a local issue that might be outstanding that they want us to listen to them about, we will obviously see if we can resolve it with the company and see what we can do for them. It's always good to communicate it with the members after these ratification meetings," he adds.

According to a release from Unifor, the contract includes a base hourly wage increase of nearly 20% for production and 25% for trades over lifetime of agreement, a Cost of Living Allowance, and a $10,000 bonus.

The pay raise and the return of the Cost of Living Allowance means that at the end of the three-year agreement, a top-rate production assembler will be paid $46.13 per hour; a journeyperson skilled trades worker will be paid $57.58 per hour.

Unifor represents 978 workers at the Annex Engine Plant which produces the 6.8-litre and 7.3-litre engines for use in the F-Series of pick-up trucks. There are 756 workers at the Essex Engine Plant which produces the 5.0L V8 engine.

In all, Unifor represents 5,680 Ford members at the Oakville Assembly Plant, Annex Engine Plant, Essex Engine Plant, Bramalea and Paris Parts Distribution Centres, Casselman Parts Distribution Centre, Edmonton Parts Distribution Centre, and office and clerical workers in Windsor and Bramalea.