Fight Continues for Windsor Assembly Plant

A Windsor city councillor wants to know if there is anything the city can do to try and save the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant.

Ward 9 Councillor Kieran McKenzie has asked administration to look at different options to try to provide an incentive to the company to introduce a new product and ultimately save jobs.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler announced the third shift will end September 30th to better align production with global demand which will impact 1,500 workers at the plant.

"We have different programs to stimulate investment in the commercial build sector and the residential building sector, looking to encourage industrial investment is another laudable goal," says McKenzie.

He says the city can't sit around and do nothing.

"Look to see if we have the tools that could be enough to push this kind of investment over the top.  I have also asked administration to look to bring together stakeholders to have a robust conversation around what could be available. We need a multi-pronged approach."

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Unifor President Jerry Dias arrives for the union press conference at Local 222 in Oshawa, Ontario, on November 26, 2018. (LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the National Unifor President will meet with FCA officials to discuss the Windsor Assembly Plant. 

AM800 News has learned Jerry Dias has a private meeting scheduled for Wednesday with top brass from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

The union will not say who Dias will meet, nor will it comment on the subject of the meeting and where it will be held. 

But Unifor has previously stated it wants to meet with FCA to find a new product to be built at the Windsor Assembly Plant once the third shift is idled in September. 

FCA announced the elimination of the third shift at the end of March, putting 1,500 employees out of work, "in order to better align production with global demand."

Sales of the Pacifica this year are down 54 per cent in Canada through February and 24 per cent in the U.S. Sales of the Grand Caravan are down more than 20 per cent in both countries over the same period. Both minivans are built at Windsor Assembly.

Dias had called the move by FCA "pretty drastic" and said "there was no indication that they were going to do something this dramatic."

Chrysler employees returned to work at the Windsor plant on Monday following a two-week shutdown. 

Unifor represents the more than 6,000 employees who work at the Windsor Assembly Plant, plus hundreds more who work at automotive parts plants who will also be affected by FCA's move. 

The Windsor Assembly Plant underwent a $1-billion retooling in 2015 to start building the Chrysler Pacifica.

When operating at full volume, the Windsor plant produces nearly 1,500 minivans per day.