Unifor and Integram (Magna) Seating were bargaining past the strike deadline in Windsor, Ont. early Friday morning, hoping to avoid a strike at the auto supply company.
About 1,000 members of Unifor Local 444 were set to strike Integram at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3.
The deadline came and went and both parties remained at the table.
A work stoppage at Integram would likely halt production at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Windsor assembly plant and General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant in Ingersol, Ont.
Both rely on just-in-time delivery of 1,500 seats and 10,000 foam seat parts that Integram produces in Windsor every day.
FCA builds the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Caravan minivans at the Windsor factory, while GM assembles the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain at the CAMI plant.
The two plants combine to produce about 2,500 vehicles each day.
Unifor members voted in favour of strike action by 99.2 per cent two weeks ago.
James Stewart, Local 444’s first vice president, says work at FCA’s minivan plant could grind to a halt within “a couple hours” if seats stopped arriving from the supplier.
However, a strike seems less likely because the union lost a bargaining chip in the 11th hour.
FCA will idle its minivan assembly plant, beginning Monday because of a parts shortage, union officials said.
If the Windsor assembly plant doesn’t operate neither do the local suppliers.
"The reality is that if the [FCA] facility is shut down next week it would be complicated for us to think that we would accomplish anything by going on strike," Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said Thursday night. "It really doesn’t have any weight. At the same time, we don’t want to go on strike, we want to come to a resolution.
"As long as we see forward progress, we'll keep bargaining."
Stewart said the outstanding issues in negotiations “are monetary.”
Unionized employees at Integram start at $17.33 an hour and use a 10-year salary grid that tops out at $24.76 per hour.