VIDEO: Third Shift Being Cut at Windsor Assembly Plant
Major cutbacks are coming to the Windsor Assembly Plant.
FCA Canada says it is returning to the traditional two shift operation to better align production with global demand and the third shift will be cancelled September 30 impacting roughly 1,500 workers.
An emotional Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy called the announcement "devastating" for employees and their families.
Following a membership meeting Thursday afternoon, Cassidy addressed the media.
He says, from the information they've received, the decision is permanent.
"People's live depend on us and we're going to do everything possible to make sure that we maintain three shifts at Windsor Assembly Plant. Our product in Windsor is number one in the world. Everybody knows it and everybody knows if you want to build it right you build it in Windsor."
(Image courtesy of CTV News)
Cassidy says he'll be pushing FCA for a new product at the plant.
"I can tell you, we are going to keep pressure on FCA, on products and fully utilizing our facility. Give us whatever they want, we will build it. I say it all the time. The workers at the Windsor Assembly Plant always step up and they build a great product, but I don't know."
He says the plant has been running at three shifts since 1993.
"Windsor Assembly Plant is the crown jewel of Windsor and Essex County. This is devastating to the entire community. The situation here is strictly a business decision based on demand of the Pacifica. We build a great product here in Windsor and we're going to continue to do that."
While speaking to the media, Cassidy called out Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens for what he believes is a "lack of support" also referring Dilkens' hands-off approach during the Caesars Windsor strike last summer.
"I have reached out to Drew Dilkens so many times. I have tried to bridge a gap there. We have two crown jewels in the city tied to this local , Windsor Assembly Plant and casino Windsor, Drew Dilkens needs to pay attention to this. This is devastating for the City of Windsor and I hope that Drew Dilkens might reach out to me."
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says he doesn't see this as complete doom and gloom and hopes the people losing positions at FCA could have other opportunities locally.
Cassidy adds the union received the notice at 2 p.m. Thursday and he plans to reach out to FCA President Mike Manley immediately to discuss the announcement.
The automaker says retirement packages will be offered to eligible employees based on seniority.
The announcement comes on the heels of a planned two week shutdown the weeks of April 8 and 15 — this is the third shutdown this year.
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.
WAP employs about 6,000 people and, when running at full capacity, produces nearly 1,500 minivans per day.
A number of provincial and federal politicians have also responded to the news from FCA, calling it disappointing.
AM800 News reached out to other local officials who say it's too soon for them to comment, and say they are waiting to get more information so they can have a better idea of the bigger picture.