TORONTO — The federal government will work with Unifor and Fiat Chrysler to find a solution for the 1,500 workers who will be out of a job when FCA ends the third shift at its Windsor, Ont., assembly plant in September, union boss Jerry Dias said.
“The government will work with us extensively on any sort of work-sharing program in order to keep the 1,500 jobs, whether or not you work the day shift and afternoon shift and the midnight shift is home for a week, or we work four days and the fifth day is off,” Dias said. “So we’re talking to Chrysler about all this stuff.”
Dias said he spoke with government officials following an April 17 meeting between Unifor leaders and FCA executives. No proposals have been agreed to. An email seeking comment from a government spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
FCA plans to eliminate one of three shifts at its Windsor Assembly plant by Sept. 30 amid weakening North American sales for the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. The automaker does, however, plan to invest $350 million into the factory for future product, potentially for an all-wheel drive Pacifica variant or a revived Voyager nameplate.
The April meeting between Unifor and FCA was described by Dias as “productive,” though initially he was not optimistic the third shift would be saved.
Dias spoke with Automotive News Canada about Windsor on Wednesday following a joint press conference with General Motors, which announced a $170-million investment into its Oshawa, Ont., plant. Dias said he would be speaking on Monday with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.