(Bloomberg) — Workers at Stellantis NV’s Canadian plants went on strike after failing to reach a new contract by a Sunday night deadline, giving the automaker a new labor headache just days after it settled a long walkout with the United Auto Workers.
Unifor, which represents Canadian auto workers, announced the action in a statement posted to its social media accounts and said the strike would involve more than 8,200 members.
“Progress has been made and negotiations will continue through the night,” Unifor said.
The strike comes as a surprise after Unifor said Friday that talks were progressing toward a deal with Stellantis that would include terms already agreed on with Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.
Unlike the UAW, Unifor has followed a traditional “pattern bargaining” approach, targeting one company for a contract and then trying to get the other two to match it. The union extracted from Ford a nearly 20% increase in the base hourly wage for production workers and 25% for skilled trades over three years, as well as bonuses and cost-of-living adjustments. GM agreed to similar terms after a brief strike on Oct. 10.
Beyond pay and pensions, one of Unifor’s key issues is confirming future investments in Canadian plants. Stellantis has previously promised to put billions of dollars into its two Ontario assembly plants for the industry’s transition to hybrid and electric vehicles.
Those two manufacturing sites, including a stamping plant, have about 6,000 employees combined, according to Stellantis’s website. The company makes the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Chrysler Pacifica vehicles in Canada, among other models.
It’s also building an electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, in partnership with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd.
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