(Reuters) - Canadian union Unifor on Tuesday announced Ford Motor as its potential target for negotiations amid contract talks with the Detroit Three automakers.
Unifor and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union's members at the Detroit Three automakers have voted in favor of a strike authorization if an agreement is not reached before the current contract expires.
The Canadian operations of the Detroit Three are much smaller than their U.S. operations. But the automakers all have critical factories in Canada.
Unifor President Lana Payne noted that Ford's Windsor, Ontario engine plant, which her union represents, builds engine for some of the company's most profitable trucks.
Unifor's choice could be a boost for Ford, giving the automaker an opportunity to tailor terms of the agreement to its advantage.
"We have maintained open communication with the UAW ... but we have our own priorities in Canada," Payne told a press conference.
The UAW, which represents about 150,000 workers at the Detroit Three's U.S. factories, has not yet chosen one company to lead contract talks. UAW President Shawn Fain has said all the three companies - Ford, General Motors and Stellantis NV - need to conclude new contracts by a Sept. 14 deadline.
Unifor, which represents 18,000 members at Ford, GM and Stellantis in Canada, had opened formal negotiations with the three companies on Aug. 10 in Toronto.
(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru, Joe White in Detroit; Additional reporting by Shivansh Tiwary; Editing by Maju Samuel)