The Canadian Autoworker's Union has reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Company on wages and benefits, and hopes to use the agreement as a model with negotiations with General Motors and Chrysler, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The key concession between the CAW and Ford was an extension of the ramp-up from starting to maximum wages from six years to 10. This differs from the UAW's agreement with domestic automakers a few years ago, when the union accepted a two-tier wage structure in which new hires would never reach the maximum wage of senior workers.

Going into negotiations, the CAW expected Ford would be the easiest to deal with because of the company's smaller footprint in Canada relative to GM and Chrysler. The latter two have extensive production facilities in Canada that build multiple high-volume popular models, such as the Buick Regal, Chevrolet Camaro, Impala, and Cadillac XTS for GM, and the Dodge Charger, Challenger, Grand Caravan, Chrysler 300, and Town & Country for Chrysler.

If an agreement isn't worked out with GM and Chrysler by midnight tonight, CAW workers could strike, although the union has instructed its members to stay on the job for the time being.

Ford's Oakville, Ontario, plant makes the Ford Edge and Flex crossovers, as well as the Lincoln MKX and MKT. The Edge crossover is the highest-volume model produced at Oakville, with 2011 U.S. sales totaling 121,702. In comparison, the Flex sold 27,428 and the Lincoln MKX sold 23,395 during the same period, with only 5024 Lincoln MKT crossovers sold during the period.

Source: Detroit Free Press