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Canadian auto union initiates national strike at Stellantis

Lana Payne celebrates on stage as Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, announce Lana Payne as their new president to replace outgoing leader Jerry Dias in Toronto, Ontario, Canada August 10, 2022.

Cole Burston | Reuters

DETROIT – After reaching a tentative agreement Saturday with the United Auto Workers union, Chrysler-parent Stellantis is now facing a national labor strike in Canada.

Canadian union Unifor called a national strike of more than 8,200 autoworkers early Monday morning after the sides failed to reach a new agreement by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The Canadian work stoppage comes two days after the Stellantis reached a tentative deal for roughly 43,000 U.S. autoworkers with the UAW after roughly six weeks of targeted strikes that began Sept. 16.

The new strikes in the Canadian province of Ontario affect two large assembly plants that produce the Chrysler 300 sedan and Pacifica minivan and Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars.

The latter vehicles, produced at Stellantis’ Brampton Assembly, are specifically notable, as the company is producing the final traditional V-8 models of the Dodge muscle cars ahead of production stopping at year’s end.

The Canadian work stoppage comes nearly three weeks after Unifor launched a roughly 12-hour national strike against General Motors after the sides failed to reach a tentative agreement by a union-set deadline.

Unifor, which represents 18,000 Canadian workers at the Detroit automakers, took a more traditional approach to its negotiations than its U.S. counterpart. The Canadian union is negotiating with each automaker separately and using a deal first reached last month with Ford as a “pattern” for GM and Stellantis.

That traditional patterned-bargaining approach runs counter to the UAW’s new strategy of bargaining with all three automakers at once.

The UAW has been gradually increasing the strikes since the work stoppages began after the sides failed to reach tentative agreements by Sept 14. The targeted, or “stand-up,” strikes are taking place instead of national walkouts.

However, once the UAW reached a tentative agreement, which must still be ratified by members, Wednesday with Ford Motor, it has used that deal as a template for proposals with Stellantis and GM.

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