Bains in Windsor after Chrysler announces 1,500 job cuts at plant
Automaker cutting the third shift, which produces the Chrysler Pacifica, its hybrid version, and Dodge Grand Caravan.
WINDSOR, Ont. — The Ontario and Federal governments have committed to helping workers after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. said it would cut 1,500 jobs at its Windsor, Ont. assembly plant.
Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said he would fight for jobs when sitting down for a meeting with FCA Canada president Reid Bigland March 29.
“We’re here to support workers, we want to fight for every single job,” he said by phone from Windsor.
The company said March 28 it would cut the third shift at its Windsor plant, which produces the Chrysler Pacifica and its hybrid version, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan, at the end of September to better align production with global demand.
Bains said the Pacifica hybrid would qualify for an electric vehicle rebate program the government announced in its latest budget, bowing to a request by the union.
“That should help Canadian families that are trying to drive cleaner vehicles to do so in a more affordable way,” he said.
The shift cut comes as there’s been a decline in minivan demand, but Bains said Canada can still attract new auto investments.
“We think we’re really well positioned to continue to see new mandates here in Canada for the automotive sector.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government will “fight tooth and nail” to protect the jobs in Windsor.
Unifor president Jerry Dias said in a statement that the union was “outraged and disappointed” in the company’s decision but was encouraged that there appears to be commitment from various governments to work to prevent job losses.
FCA announced in late February that it would invest US$4.5 billion in Michigan to build a new assembly plant and upgrade other operations and create 6,500 jobs in the process.
The planned cut in Windsor comes as Ontario’s auto sector is already reeling from General Motors’ plans to end production at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., by the end of the year at a loss of about 2,600 unionized workers.
It’s not all cuts in Ontario’s auto sector though. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada started production of its RAV4 SUV at its North Plant in Cambridge, Ont. March 29 after a $1.4-billion investment. The Canadian government put up $110 million to support the investment.
The ramp-up at Cambridge comes as the North American auto market shifts increasingly to SUVs, trucks, and crossovers and away from traditional sedans.