Plants, Parts and Pay on the Table as Fiat Chrysler Tries to Avert Midnight Strike

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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plants parts and pay on the table as fiat chrysler tries to avert midnight strike

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles must make some pricey commitments to head off a midnight strike by its Canadian autoworkers.

Bargaining teams from FCA and Unifor, which represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, worked throughout the weekend to nail down a contract deal patterned on the recent General Motors agreement.

Without product commitment for its Brampton assembly plant and Etobicoke casting plant, among other sticking points, workers could walk off the job tonight.

As per tradition, FCA’s product timeline is set in Jello, not stone. Recent product delays have the Unifor team demanding a clearer future for its Windsor assembly plant, which produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica, as well as the Brampton plant, which makes FCA’s rear-drive cars.

According to the Windsor Star, workers are “cautiously optimistic” they can avoid strike duty.

“We have a lot of new workers and this is the first time they’ve ever been in this position,” said Frank Mosey, strike coordinator for Unifor Local 444. He added, “If the deal includes jobs and investment, there’s a good chance our members will ratify.”

The 1,200 new workers in Windsor heap costs if the deal is modeled on GM’s agreement, which includes pay increases for new hires (while keeping the 10-year pay grid), an overall pay bump for traditional employees, boosted signing bonuses and lump sum payments.

On the product front, Unifor wants something to fill the void left in Etobicoke by the canceled Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. The facility manufactures aluminum die castings, pistons, and various engine and transmission parts.

Brampton needs a new paint shop, as well as assurances for its future. The Dodge Challenger and Charger move to a new Alfa Romeo-sourced platform in 2018, while the Chrysler 300’s future remains hazy. FCA’s product pipeline calls for a potential 300 redesign in 2020.

Windsor has less to worry about. A full-size, Pacifica-based Chrysler crossover starts production in 2018, while the Grand Caravan should stay alive until the 2019 model year.

Meanwhile, FCA could stand to gain government cash in return for plant upgrades. A source close to the negotiations told the Star that officials from the automaker met with Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid and Environment Minister Glen Murray last week to discuss “a possible investment.”

Unifor saw its negotiations with GM sweetened by provincial and federal automotive funding programs, which could see the automaker recoup up to 40 percent of the $554 million (CAD) deal.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 10, 2016

    12:01 AM .. Is Tuesday morning. I don't know if FCA Canada has an identical agreement to GM Canada. Thanksgiving Day {today} is a statutory holiday. The Friday before Thanksgiving , is a negotiated paid holiday. At GM you were required to be at work the day before , and the day after, to qualify for the Friday. Unauthorized absence could cost you 2 days pay ? I find it odd that UNIFOR would pick Oct 10. Of course ,it could be a done deal, and will settle around 11:45 PM : )

    • See 1 previous
    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Oct 11, 2016

      @Lorenzo Mikey has a special way of looking , at things.

  • Mikey Mikey on Oct 11, 2016

    Tentative agreement reached , 11:56 PM , Who knew ? : ) They're will be lots of gnashing of teeth, and rhetoric , before ratification . It will ratify. Moving on to Ford ? The GM ,and now FCA agreement, will be a hard sell amongst the rank and file. For the past 8 years Ford workers have been told "we didn't need to be bailed out , like the other two did"..."We turned a profit, while the other two sucked on the government teat". i believe Ford Canada will settle , but ratification will be tight .

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