Unifor: FCA to invest $355M into Windsor plant

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has committed to invest $355 million into the Windsor Assembly plant, according Unifor, the Canadian union that represents the autoworkers there.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has committed to investing $355 million into its Windsor Assembly plant, though 1,500 jobs still may be in jeopardy, according to a post on the local union's Facebook page.

Unifor Local 444, the Canadian union that represents the autoworkers at the facility that produces Chrysler Pacifica minivans, said Unifor National President Jerry Dias met with FCA leaders Wednesday in Toronto for the first time since the automaker said last month it will eliminate the third shift in September.

The automaker made the commitment to "further enhance FCA’s long term commitment to our facility," according to the post, and the company asked for further meetings to discuss.

"Nothing has changed with regard to the notice but we will continue fighting for our members and community until we have a resolve," the post said.

Dias was not immediately available for comment.

FCA spokeswoman Jodi Tinson declined to comment on the meeting and the reported investment.

"This was a private meeting between Unifor and the Company, and therefore we will not comment on what was discussed," she said in an email.

Last month, Tinson said Windsor's third shift was being cut to "better align production with global demand." FCA has said it will offer retirement packages to eligible employees and make efforts to place indefinitely laid-off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority.

The reported investment in Windsor comes after the automaker confirmed in February that it would revive a previously idled engine plant on Detroit's east side as part of a $4.5 billion investment in five Michigan plants if the city can secure the land. The actions would create about 6,500 new jobs in Metro Detroit.

The Windsor plant along with the one in Brampton, which is also in Ontario, are idling for  two weeks in April to align production with demand. it is the third time in 2019 that the automaker stopped production in Windsor.

The Chrysler Pacifica has seen softening demand recently. U.S. sales dropped 29 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The Windsor plant went from two shifts to three shifts in 1993, according to the union.