Just a few short years after the Canadian and Ontario government bailed out General Motors and Chrysler, a familiar scenario is playing out along Highway 401. Chrysler is reported to be negotiating with both the Ontario and Canadian federal government regarding subsidies for their Windsor assembly plant that builds the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.
While auto makers like Ford and Toyota have received government money recently, the size and scope of the subsidies are said to be unprecedented. And according to reports, Chrysler is threatening to leave if they don’t get what they want.
Ontario is home to a number of auto plants, both import and domestic, union and non-union, as well as numerous suppliers. None of them are so tightly intertwined as General Motors is with the town of Oshawa, about 40 miles from Toronto (though, as any area resident will tell you, it’s really 2 hours away, thanks to our horrendously inadequate infrastructure). For nearly a century, GM has been building cars in Oshawa in one form or another, as the plant has established a reputation as one of GM’s best, consistently building high quality cars, trucks and crossovers over the decades. But that tradition may be coming to a close by 2016.
A merger between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union passed a ratification vote Monday, which will see the two unions merge and create the largest private-sector union in Canada. The new union won’t be limited strictly to workers either.
Members of the Canadian Auto Workers union have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike mandate as talks between the union and the Big Three resumed today.
Contract negotiations are looming for the Canadian Auto Workers, but that hasn’t stopped some union members of a Chrysler plant in Windsor, Ontario from wading into the abortion debate, something settled long ago and unlikely to ever be re-opened in Canada.