Ready to Bargain

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Our union is heading into collective bargaining negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers this year. What is collective bargaining?

    Collective bargaining is a process that determines the terms and conditions of work between employers and unionized workers.

    The process of collective bargaining concludes with the signing of a collective agreement (often referred to as a “union contract”). A collective agreement is a written contract, that is legal and binding, between a union and an employer and cannot be changed except by mutual agreement of the parties.

    Collective agreements have a predefined length. This means that, nearing its expiry date, the union and employer can propose to introduce changes to the agreement’s terms and conditions. Both the union and employer must agree to the changes (commonly referred to as a “tentative agreement”). The tentative agreement is subject to membership approval before it becomes a renewal collective agreement.

    In 2023, our union is seeking to negotiate renewals of the Ford, General Motors and Stellantis collective agreements, covering workers at their Canadian facilities.

  • Collective bargaining has served autoworkers well for nearly a century. Together, autoworkers have negotiated and fought for ground-breaking improvements to work standards. Even in times of economic crisis, collective bargaining has provided unionized autoworkers the ability to defend their rights.

    Our negotiated wage and work standards at Detroit Three facilities apply equally across worksites, and between the automakers. Wage rates in one plant are generally the same as any other. Because of this, employers have little incentive to compete with one another by underpaying workers. By equalizing pay and work standards, autoworkers are also more likely to stand together and support one another, in solidarity.

  • The following Unifor-represented workplaces will be involved in the 2023 negotiations.


    General Motors


    Oakville Assembly

    Oshawa Assembly

    Windsor Assembly

    Annex Engine Plant

    St. Catharines Powertrain

    Brampton Assembly

    Essex Engine Plant

    Woodstock Parts Depot

    Etobicoke Casting

    Paris Parts Depot


    Red Deer Parts Depot

    Casselman Parts Depot


    Mississauga Parts Depot

    Edmonton Parts Depot


    Office staff – Windsor

    Office staff - Windsor


    Office staff – Brampton

    Office staff - Bramalea


    Office staff – Etobicoke



    Fire and security – Windsor

  • Contract talks to renew the collective agreements at Ford, GM and Stellantis begin on August 10, 2023.

  • September 18, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.

  • In past, our union has chosen to negotiate a settlement with one of the Detroit Three automakers, before the others. The terms of this first settlement set the ‘pattern’ that is then negotiated with the others.

    The pattern-setting “target” company is selected by the Unifor National President. Historically, this target selection happens over the Labour Day weekend.  The National President may choose to not select a target on the Labour Day weekend (as happened in 2012, for instance) but may do so at another point in time.  

    Once the first settlement is voted on and ratified by Unifor members, the union will select the second company with which to negotiate. Once the second deal is ratified by members, the union will negotiate with the third – and final – company.

  • Negotiations will take place at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto.

  • Our union’s bargaining committee structure is multilayered, involving various participants across multiple sub-committees, all working collaboratively to reach a tentative settlement.

    National President Lana Payne will serve as the lead and official spokesperson. Each of the Ford, GM and Stellantis Master Bargaining Committees are led by their respective elected Committee Chairperson.

    The union negotiating team includes local union and workplace representatives, elected by the membership, and is also supported by Unifor staff.

    More information on the union’s bargaining structure will be provided in a future communique to members.

  • Our members at Ford, GM and Stellantis submitted hundreds of proposals intended to amend (and improve) their respective collective agreements. These proposals have been reviewed by the bargaining committee, consolidated and prioritized, and will be presented to the employers at the start of negotiations.

    Among the list of proposals, Unifor Auto Council delegates identified a list of top bargaining priorities that will apply across the Detroit Three.

    These include:

    • Pensions
    • An improved wage package (reflecting high price inflation, and employer earnings)
    • Transition supports related to the shift to electric vehicle manufacturing; and
    • Confirmation of investment and product commitments, including specific product allocations and timelines.
  • No. 

    Although Unifor and the U.S.-based United Auto Workers (UAW) union will bargain simultaneously with the Detroit Three automakers this year, the collective agreements are separate and distinct. The UAW agreements, for instance, expire four days in advance of Unifor’s. The UAW agreements cover Detroit Three facilities based in the United States.

    Despite the differences in our collective agreements, Unifor and the UAW maintain close relations and open dialogue. It is important that North American autoworkers work together, and stand in solidarity with one another, to continue improving the working conditions and living standards for all workers.

  • Electing union representatives. Members are directly responsible for electing their local union officers as well as bargaining committee representatives. These democratically elected representatives are the voice of the members at the bargaining table.

    Submit bargaining proposals and participate in strike votes. Members are encouraged to submit proposed amendments to their collective agreement and expected to vote to authorize (or not authorize) strike action if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached.  

    Stay informed. The National Union will provide useful and accurate information about bargaining throughout the process, across various channels. The expectation is that members will keep themselves informed and up to date with the information provided.

    Support the bargaining committee. Negotiations always prove challenging. But when union members support their elected bargaining committees, it’s a show of strength and solidarity, putting pressure on the employer to bargain a fair deal.  

    Vote on tentative agreement. If a tentative settlement is reached, it is the members’ right and responsibility to vote for (or against) the proposed agreement. Any new collective agreement must be approved by a majority of voting members. This will happen at a series of ratification meetings at the conclusion of negotiations. Expect more information on the ratification process later.

    Participate in strike action, if necessary. If a tentative settlement is not reached, and the union has declared a strike against one of the Detroit Three automakers, it is expected that those members stop work and staff picket lines that will be set up at worksites.  Strike action will continue until a final settlement is reached.

  • Questions should be addressed directly to shopfloor representatives, committeepersons or local union officers.

    Members are also encouraged to send questions to [email protected] and to visit our union’s dedicated Auto Talks 2023 website through the Unifor Auto Hub at