Canada’s trade union Unifor begins formal contract talks with the Detroit Three automakers this week.

Ford, General Motors and Stellantis are already in negotiations with union United Auto Workers (UAW).

For the first time since 1999, Unifor and UAW’s contract agreement with the Detroit Three are set to expire at the same time in September.

Tensions rose in talks between Stellantis and UAW, with UAW president Shawn Fain tossing the automaker’s contract proposals into a bin, calling them “a slap in the face.”

Reuters reported that Stellantis proposed cuts to healthcare coverage and employer cuts to 401k contributions (workplace pension). 

On the start of its negotiations, Unifor National President Lana Payne said:

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“Our bargaining teams are ready to get to the table and start negotiations on behalf of 18,000 Unifor members covered by these contracts.

 “Our mission is clear. Our members want stronger pensions, better wages and a secure future in the transition to electric vehicle manufacturing.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers.