When it comes to creating jobs that keep the economy moving, it takes three to tango.
It’s not a dance competition, but the recent announcement that Ford will invest $750 million into its plant in Oakville, Ont., is the result of some very smart moves by the union, the company and governments.
And we are all winners.
The hard-fought labour negotiations between Unifor (formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union) and the company, and the subsequent government funding -- $71.6 million from the federal government and $70.9 million from Ontario – will result in billions of dollars in family income, billions of dollars in exports, and billions of dollars in tax revenues.
With the securing of some 2,800 jobs, the Oakville plant will continue to operate for at least the next decade. And the impact on employment goes way beyond that because every job in the plant supports another eight or nine more somewhere up or down the value chain. That includes the potential for new work at the Windsor plant as well, which has seen hundreds of layoffs in the recent past.
Consider also the tax revenues generated from all of these jobs and spending. They translate into key roles for the government in terms of quality education and training, infrastructure, transportation and health care. Those things, paid for with tax dollars, are essential to keep industry moving. Our medicare system, for example, is a key competitive advantage for automakers here, saving them up to $5 an hour.
The investment is also a great boost to the automotive sector. Right now, the Oakville plant makes the Ford Edge, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKX and Lincoln MKT, and it ships to more than 80 countries. The new funding will allow production of several new Ford models by next fall and expanded shipments to even more countries around the globe.
But is all starts with the workers. Not one vehicle would roll of the line in Oakville without the sweat, the brains, and the commitment of the proud members of Unifor Local 707. They have worked hard to ensure that the facility is a profitable location to invest in and to build automobiles well into the future
There is certainly no question that Canada is a great place to build vehicles. The auto industry has created thousands of good jobs that our economy needs.
In fact, Canada is a good place to build many quality products and provide valuable services that are the foundation of a strong economy. It just takes commitment and cooperation from all parties involved. From auto to aerospace, to transportation and telecommunications – Unifor members work in 20 sectors of the economy, including all stages of the economic value chain.
The securing of 2,800 good jobs at the Ford Oakville plant is an example of what we can achieve when we work together with governments and business.
There is lots of potential for more good news. Though dance lessons may be in order.