LISTEN IN: Windsor Assembly Plant To Shutdown In October

The FCA Windsor Assembly Plant is set to shutdown for five weeks this fall — for all of October then for another week in late November.

Unifor local 444 President James Stewart says it is due to new U.S safety regulations for side airbags in the Dodge Caravan built in Windsor.

He says the plant's body shop will need to be re-engineered to handle the changes.

"The United States has changed its legislation on specs for the side airbags," says Stewart. "So, the Pacifica was designed with those specs in mind and meet the standards, the Dodge Caravan that we build doesn't have that same spec on their side airbags."


Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles company sign. (GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Stewart says for now, this is affecting sales of the Dodge Caravan.

"As of August 30 we could no longer sell the Dodge Grand Caravan in the U.S market until the spec changes on the side airbags won't come into effect until December."

Stewart calls it short-term pain for long-term gain.

Stewart says the shutdown will affect about 6,000 employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant, along with workers at the feeder plants.

He says the majority of workers at the W.A.P, have benefits bargained in the contract so they will be paid during the downtime.   But the new hires, about a couple of thousand workers, will be on employment insurance.

Late Wednesday morning, FCA Canada Head of Communications issued the following statement:

"The Windsor Assembly Plant will be down for four weeks, starting the week of Oct. 2, to balance production with the anticipated volume shortfall related to the previously announced  temporary production suspension of the 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan for the U.S. market only. This action was taken to incorporate U.S. product regulatory actions that are required for the 2018 model year. Additionally, a previously scheduled holiday down week was moved to the week of Nov. 27 to perform maintenance activities."