VIDEO: Unions say Provincial Budget Lacks Support for Auto Industry
Union leaders in Windsor-Essex are "disappointed" with Thursday's provincial budget.
Labour leaders watched the announcement from Doug Ford's Ontario PC's live at Unifor's office on Central Ave. near Tecumseh Rd. E.. A three-year plan to balance the books was revealed as part of its 2019 Budget, but local union-heads say they're struggling to see how it will help turn things around in the automotive sector.
The budget outlines research and development investment of $40-million over the next three years to, "strengthen the competitiveness and innovation of the sector." It also includes tax breaks and training to draw in new companies and diversify the workforce.
Unifor Local 200 President John D'Agnolo tells AM800 News workers in the auto-sector didn't get the attention they deserved.
"They help the government out through tax revenue and yet they're turning their backs on them. You talk about the social services that they're going to need and they made cuts to social services," he says. "This budget was absolutely disappointing."
Unifor Local 444 Vice President Manny Cardoso he isn't surprised little was said about the mass exodus of jobs revolving around the Big Three Thursday announcement.
He says every level of government reached out to the union after word got out that job cuts are on the way for the Windsor Assembly Plant, accept the Ontario PC Party.
"You would have thought he would have mentioned something there for our industry, there was no mention of GM for the Oshawa plant, no mention of the FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] down here, we already knew what his answer was with the $14,000 incentive we tried to get him to put back on," he says.
Emile Nabbout doesn't see how the budget will address any of the problems currently facing the province's autoworkers.
The vice president of Unifor Local 195 says the budget doesn't focus on maintaining and improving the jobs Ontario already has.
"We expect government to step up when there is a crisis, we believe that the auto industry in the country is in crisis," says Nabbout. "The government announcing that they're open for business in Ontario, what kind of business? It's best to preserve the businesses we have."
General Motors announced it will axe 2,500 jobs at its Oshawa Assembly Plant in November of 2018 — those job cuts are expected to hit by the end of 2019.
Most recently Fiat Chrysler announced close to 1,500 jobs will be lost at the Windsor Assembly Plant this year after cutting a third shift.