Up to 154 employees — perhaps more — at parts suppliers will lose their jobs when FCA cuts the third shift at its Windsor, Ont., minivan plant, warns the union representing workers at several factories.
In the union’s July 2019 newsletter to members, Unifor Local 444 2nd Vice-president Mike D’Agnolo says FCA’s decision to eliminate the third shift in October will affect at least five suppliers in southern Ontario. And the union already has estimates of job losses at three of them.
D’Agnolo warns up to 37 employees at HBPO and 15 at Avancez could lose their jobs. He also says 102 layoff notices have already been issued at ZF, although he says “we believe that number is inflated.”
About 300 workers at ZF assemble shocks, struts, springs and rear suspensions at two facilities for FCA, which builds the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan in Windsor. HBPO makes front-end modules for FCA's Chrysler Pacifica models, while Avancez focuses on tires and wheels.
Dakkota and Integram Windsor Seating could also be affected. “As of this writing, we have no real numbers that would be impacted if the third shift at FCA is eliminated,” D’Agnolo wrote of the Dakkota situation.
“The possibility of good jobs being lost … has been on everyone's mind,” he added about Integram, a Magna International factory.
Magna officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
FCA's minivan plant currently employs more than 6,000 hourly workers on three shifts. But 1,700 of those jobs will be lost when the company cuts the midnight shift later this year in response to declining minivan sales.
The automaker plans to eliminate the third shift at the plant on Oct. 21, three weeks later than originally planned, “to accommodate a large order,” spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin previously said in a statement. “After that date, the plant will return to a traditional two-shift operation.”
"We believe this is a short sighted and knee-jerk reaction by FCA," Unifor Local 444 Treasurer Jamie Stewart said in the newsletter. "Even now, we get the feeling that they are willing to work with us to see if our governments of the day can help find solutions."
According to Unifor, FCA plans to invest $350 million into the Windsor plant "for future product," but the automaker has not confirmed what that product would be.
FCA is resurrecting the Voyager nameplate for a lower-priced version of the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica that targets entry-level buyers to replace the outgoing Caravan.