Workers at Chrysler plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario ratified the CAW’s labor agreement by an overwhelming majority, despite a lack of new product or investment at either plant.
A new paint shop and a third shift at the Brampton Assembly Plant were rumored in the run-up to the deal, but neither materialized. While current jobs are protected under the agreement, what happens after its expiration at the end of 2016 is now the question on the minds of everyone from plant workers to industry observers.
When we last left off, I put forward the theory that Chrysler could move production of the LX cars to Italy, alongside the rumored baby Jeep that is thought to be part of their plan to export Italian-built cars to North America. TTAC readers suggested that this was a stretch, and the more likely candidate was Mexico. This isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but the question of “what will be built in Italy?” is a big question mark staring us all in the face.
In the mean time, CAW President Ken Lewenza will pursue his “National Auto Policy“, which demands that the government devalue the Canadian dollar, suspend free trade talks with Japan and South Korea and take equity stakes in OEMs. When the CAW’s Auto Policy initiative was first floated back in April, The Globe and Mail dubbed it “retrograde“, and some of its tenets, like devaluing Canada’s currency, seem totally implausible to the point where it’s difficult to take the proposal seriously. At best, it’s merely a distraction from the lack of meaningful gains with Chrysler in the areas of product and investment. At worst, it’s a foolish idea with little grounding in reality that will only serve to expedite the process of sending jobs abroad.