Labour Leader Vows to Defy Shift Cuts at Windsor Assembly

A recent decision to cut the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant for the first time since 1993 by FCA Canada caught many local labour leaders by surprise.

Fiat Chrysler announced it needs to align production with global demand and the third shift will be cancelled on Thursday — leaving roughly 1,500 workers out in the cold as of Sept. 30.

Windsor and District Labour Council President Brian Hogan says, the "devastating news" took a while to process, but it's clear everyone involved needs to "defy the decision."

"When you get a surprise you're kind of shocked, but we step back a bit and we say we're not going to let this happen because we do have the best facilities and best workers, and we have the best community that has been good to the Detroit Three for decades," he says. "It will take work, but what we have to do is pull together. I'm talking the union, the citizens and all three levels of government."

There have been slumping sales of the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan. both built at Windsor Assembly.

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.

But Hogan says there's nothing stopping the plant from adding a product to the assembly line.

"There's no recession, just right across the water they invested $4.5-billion in Michigan, so lets get out fair share," he added.

The plant employs about 6,000 people — not including thousands of supporting jobs at feeder plants.

When running at full capacity Windsor Assembly produces close to 1,500 minivans per day.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi.