After seeming to be at an impasse as late as this morning, the Canadian Autoworkers union and Ford have reached a tentative agreement with just hours to go before the CAW's work stoppage deadline.

The deal that has been agreed upon will run for the next four years and cover around 4,500 Canadian Ford employees. CAW members will see no base wage adjustments under the plan, though hourly employees will receive lump sum payments. Further, the automaker will create an additional 600 jobs in Canada.

The union was unable to secure cost-of-living adjustments for its retired members, however, and there are to be no changes in the overall structure of pension plans.

CAW President, Ken Lewenza said of the tentative plan, "It's a damn good deal in these economic times."

In the meantime, CAW officials continue to negotiate with General Motors and Chrysler. The union hopes to use the Ford deal as a blueprint for agreements with those companies, as well. This might not be a simple thing to do for a number of reasons. The CAW has been characterized as having a stronger relationship with Ford than with the other two companies; both Chrysler and GM have more at stake with this deal, as both employ roughly 8,000 CAW members compared with Ford's 4,500.