Lana Payne speaks to the delegates after being elected the new president of UNIFOR, Canada's largest private sector union, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on August 10, 2022.
CNN  — 

Members of Canada’s autoworkers union, Unifor, ratified a tentative three-year agreement with Ford on Sunday after the union had reached an 11th-hour agreement last week to avert a possible strike.

The deal, which Unifor called “exceptional,” was unanimously endorsed by leadership from the local unions on Friday, the union said in a news release. But despite that endorsement, only 54% of the rank-and-file members voted to ratify the deal.

The union leadership said the contract was the best deal they could get for members.

“This was an extraordinary round of collective bargaining, taking place in an extraordinary time,” the union’s leadership wrote in a joint message to members included in the bargaining rep