The union that represents most of Canadian autoworkers voted for a strike mandate Sunday.
Unifor represents more than 20,000 autoworkers across Canada and voted almost unanimously in favor of a strike if parties cannot agree to a new contract by Sept. 19, the date the current four-year contract expires.
Unifor reported that 97.1 percent of General Motors workers, 98.9 percent of Ford workers and 99 percent of FCA workers authorized the strike through a vote.
The union is engaged in tense negotiations with General Motors, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Ford Motors. Unifor is aggressively pushing the automakers for specific worker guarantees and for increased investment in its Ontario plants. Negotiations have been underway since the start of the month, and the contract deadline is fast approaching.
Unifor’s President Jerry Dias said the union would not agree to a deal unless General Motors commits to building new vehicles in its Oshawa assembly plant and Ford Motor Company guarantees the continued operation of its Windsor engine plant. The union also previously asked for increased investment at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton assembly plant.
“With this clear mandate our members have demonstrated they are in full support of their bargaining committees, and our direction in this set of negotiations,” Dias said in a statement. “The bargaining committee will not accept a deal without a commitment to investment in Canada’s auto sector.”
Canadian autoworkers are concerned that the automakers may continue to take jobs elsewhere, as the car makers have recently signed deals with American autoworkers to invest nearly $2 billion in American plants.
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