Article Summary- Ford Canada Analysis

The article is a review of the deal between Unifor members and Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd. The review is a summation of the long process of negotiation between the union members and the company that operates three plants in the country. The four year was voted by 58% of the present members and binds employees from the three plants in Oakville, Windsor and Brampton. Perhaps the greatest winners were the workers from the two plants and parts depot as Ford promised to increase its investments in the country thus guaranteeing them of their jobs in the future. The company promised to invest $713 million over the next four years as bound by the contract. In addition, the workers are set to receive increased lump sum payments and bonuses totaling $12000 over the course of the contract. Still, the wages for the employees are set to increase by two percent in the first year as well as the fourth year making the employee’s pay better than in previous years.

The article cites the investments in the Windsor plant as the main benefits that the employees accrued from the agreement. Workers in the engine manufacturing facility would benefit from increased investments of up to $613 million thus guaranteeing the employees a brighter future. The two engine plants in Windsor have a capacity of 1,400 employees working towards the making of the company’s vehicle engines. Part of the investment in the Windsor plant is meant to fund the establishment of a new Essex plant dedicated to the manufacture of 7-liter engine. The rest of the funds are to be used in reviving the production of the 6.8 liter engine at the Windsor engine plant. Through this investment, the company guaranteed a continued production of up to 2020 thus quelling fears of a scheduled production halt. The negotiations that began during the summer culminated in promises of $1.6 billion in investments from Ford, General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. The key beneficiaries of these investments are the employees who benefit from improved working terms and guaranteed continuity of operations.

The main demand among the union members was an investment to guarantee continued operations among plants that were on the endangered list. Through this guarantee, the union members attained assurance that the plants would not close within the next four years stipulated in the agreement. Despite the agreement, the union had sustained a heated internal battle regarding the priorities of the new agreement. Some of the locals felt that the union could not win new investments for Windsor while improving the pay scale for newly employed workers. In the Oakville plant, newly hired workers demanded change in the pay grid to reflect the traditional hourly wage level over eight years instead of ten years. Although the grid of ten years did not change, their wage increases will be implemented every year rather than have them frozen in the first three years of their employment. Ultimately, the starting hourly rate for employees was increased from $20.39 to $20.92. There was also a need among the union members to support the company following successive increment in investments in 2012 and 2016. However, the signing of the agreement did not take place in isolation of dissent as some members sought for more packages than those offered. A newly hired employee was for instance clad in Halloween mask routing for the strike of the employees to demand for a change in the ten year grid.


Article Analysis

The article is highly effective in portraying the four year contract signed between the union members and Ford Company. In particular, the benefits accrued by the union members including newly hired workers are perfectly outlined within the text. The author applies a systematic approach in detailing the process of negotiation as well as the conclusive phase of signing the agreement. Throughout the article, the reader has the feeling of a union member who was actively involved in the negotiations. Every detail of the agreement is captured in the text with a perfect outline of the benefits to both parties. Most importantly, the author incorporates the benefits of the huge investments to the company as well as the union members thus attaining a balance of opinion. All the aspects covered in the agreement are well documented with an emphasis on the expected benefits. Towards, the end of the article, the author outlines the voices of dissent thus portraying the differences among union members. Perhaps, this dissent captures the disagreement among union members that was discussed earlier in the article.

The members of the union demand for better pay as well as better working conditions at the same labor hours. In this undertaking, the workers are applying a wage maximization model with a preference on higher wage levels for newly hired workers. Also, the emphasis on increased investments in the endangered plants can be seen as an attempt to use the wage maximization model. The focus of this demand for continuity of operations is geared towards the maintenance of job security for the employees for the next four years. This approach is very popular among union members across the world (Hinkle et al, p. 126). The number one goal of any union is to ensure the security of the jobs of their members through negotiations and strikes. In fact, the union members put it very candidly that a failure to honor their demands would result in strikes. The application of the wage maximization model in this respect is synonymous with other unions that advocate for similar demands. Indeed, the needs of the union members are similar across the world and are dictated by a desire for job security and improved terms of employment.

The article is also balanced by incorporating different views of the union members. By showing the different argument posed by different members, the article portrays the process of negotiation as an imperfect process riddled with numerous differences. Indeed, different members have different demands and their differences can only be resolved through a popular vote. A similar approach was used in the article in which only 58% of the present union members agreed with the propositions of the agreement. Despite some members dissenting to the agreement, it was still ratified as a majority of the members had similar demands. However, some of the members expressed disappointment arguing that the union could have sought for a better deal. Others demanded an end to the ten year grid and advocated for a labor strike that did not happen. By highlighting these differences, the article portrays a process of negotiation and agreement that is not perfect and that is only resolved through consensus (Valenzuela, p. 462).


Works cited

Hinkle, Steve, William B. Stiles, and Laurie A. Taylor. “Verbal processes in a labour/management negotiation.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 7.2 (1988): 123-136.

Valenzuela, J. Samuel. “Labor movements in transitions to democracy: A framework for analysis.” Comparative Politics 21.4 (1989): 445-472.