The Canadian Auto Workers union, still unwilling to budge on the issue of pay structure that creates "two tiers" of employees, has again warned it is prepared to strike if no agreement is reached by 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday.
CAW union bosses are talking to Ford Motor Company of Detroit in hopes of winning concessions that would then be acceptable to Chrysler and General Motors, according to a CTV report.
However instead of reporting detailed progress, the union said a deal is close but it would strike if one is not reached; CAW issued the warning in a statement Friday.
Canada has become one of the most expensive places in the world to build a car, according to the American car companies.
"In order to keep the pressure on both General Motors and Chrysler, we will continue to meet with each company, maintaining the same deadline, with the intention of reaching new tentative agreements after Ford," the union said.
However, it is unclear if Canadian unions or the Big Three from Detroit are feeling more pressure as car-makers have shuttered Canadian plants in recent years and Canadian vehicle production is down.
Meanwhile, Monday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said he believed productive discussions are taking place behind closed doors.
"I'm confident that people know what's at stake and they're going to find a way," he said at a news conference.
"Ford isn't philosophically opposed to anything other than to say, 'Folks, keep your costs down, keep it manageable,' and (then) we can share in the success with the company together."'
In an a statement lacking any detail, CAW president Ken Lewenza said Ford "hasn't promised anything" but added the company has indicated it agrees in principle to some of the union's issues, which he said are being reviewed for possible "tweaking."
However Chrysler did not take the Canadian union’s decision to negotiate mainly with Ford very well. A spokeswoman described the mood of officials at the company as "very concerned."
GM and Ford would not comment about talks with CAW.
Nevertheless, Lewenza seemed confident a deal could be reached by the union's strike deadline and, more importantly, said the union would ignore its deadline if talks were close to agreement.
"If we see light at the end of the tunnel then we're going to keep working until it shines on an agreement," he said.
CAW plans to hold a press conference at 4 p.m. ET today to address the strike issues.