Oct. 28 (UPI) -- After finalizing a deal to end its weeks-long labor dispute with General Motors, the United Auto Workers union will next focus its attention on the other two major U.S. automakers -- one of which, Ford Motor Company, said Monday layoffs are coming to one of its plants in Canada.
The automaker said Monday it plans to end production of its Flex and Lincoln MKT crossover vehicles -- as part of a 2020 lineup shift to build fewer cars and more sport-utility vehicles and trucks. Ford said the layoffs will arrive in early 2020.
Also Monday, negotiators for UAW and Ford met at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., to discuss elements of the next four-year labor contract. Talks officially started in July.
UAW's deal with GM is expected to have a great influence on the discussions with Ford, as well as Fiat Chrysler. Ford, with 55,000 factory workers, is the largest employer of hourly wage earners in the U.S. automotive industry.
The union voted Friday to accept GM's most recent proposal and end the longest strike in 50 years. The GM deal is expected to serve as a "pattern" for negotiations with Ford or Fiat Chrysler, whose contracts expired Sept. 14. Unlike General Motors, Ford and Fiat aren't expected to close any assembly plants.
Fiat Chrysler is hiring thousands and building a new Detroit plant, but the Italian-American company has the highest percentage of temporary workers in its unionized workforce. Analysts say the union, in its talks with FCA, may push for a quicker path to full-time employment, as the GM workers did.
Wages and healthcare costs are expected to be two major talking points for Ford workers.
Combined, the labor contracts for GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler represent about 150,000 hourly workers.
"As America's No. 1 producer of vehicles and largest employer of UAW-represented autoworkers, we look forward to reaching an agreement that helps Ford enhance its competitiveness and preserve and protect good-paying manufacturing jobs," Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said.