Essex Plant Cuts Another Sign Diversification Needed: Windsor Mayor

Another lost shift, this time at Ford's Essex Engine Plant, has Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens concerned.

A new engine is coming into the plant, but instead of celebrating new hires for that product, the automaker will be trying to keep current employees on the job.

The union cites a shift in sales of the F-150 pickups as the main factor in the cuts with the smaller Ecoboost engines and diesel options moving buyers away from the five-litre V8 they make at Essex Engine.

After the shutdown of GM's Oshawa Assembly Plant, Dilkens asserted the need for Windsor to diversify its economy back in December of 2018.

First FCA Canada announced it would cut Windsor Assembly's third shift by September, axing roughly 1,500 jobs, and now Essex will be downsizing as well.

Dilkens tells AM800 News it's staggering how fast things can change.

"I can't believe in such a short period of time what we've seen happen in our own city," says Dilkens.  "I think what it should do is underscore for city council the need to take action and the need to put this as a top priority."

He says council's focus has to remain on adapting to a changing automotive landscape and finding new industries.

"We're going to see more and more changes coming out in the next five or 10 years that are really going to disruptive to the auto sector," says Dilkens. "It's up to us and the auto companies that manufacture here to make sure that they can meet the consumer demand and be innovative."

He says council's focus has to remain on adapting to a changing automotive landscape and finding new industries.

"They have already in terms of the strategic plan, but there will be a request for dollars that says this is what we need to do if we want to be able to be innovative and maintain our innovation and be able to adapt and create a diverse economy here in Windsor-Essex," says Dilkens.

Essex Engine Plant primarily builds engines for F-150 pick-up trucks and Ford Mustangs.

Unifor Local 200 representatives say there will still be three shifts running in pre-assembly areas like, crank, block and rod.

---with files from AM800's Peter Langille