Brampton, Ontario — Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) has agreed to a tentative three-year contract with Unifor—reaching the agreement only moments before the 11:59 p.m. deadline Wednesday night.
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, held a virtual news conference Thursday, Oct. 15 on Facebook to announce the tentative deal with FCA, which includes at least 1.3 to 1.5 billion invested into their Windsor assembly plant.
The contract also includes the addition of a new platform to the Windsor plant for building plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles. This platform is expected to launch in 2024, which will see a third shift re-added to the Windsor plant. This investment is assumed to help produce pickups, crossovers, or cars based on market demand, and provide more than 2,000 more jobs at the plant.
Dias also stated in his announcement that going into neogations there were some concerns, especially regarding the Windsor plant.
“We were concerned because over 15000 members lost their jobs because of the elimination of the third shift this summer. In the third shift was a testament of success because it was first instituted in 1993 so what when we lost the third shift, we also lost 1500 of member so as a result in restructuring and putting into place incentives for people to retire,” said Dias.
Dias said he was also worried about Brampton’s assembly plants’ existing portfolio and stated that the Brampton plant makes “the most incredible cars in North America.”
However, during Wednesday evening’s negotiations, FCA committed to maintaining the existing portfolio. The Brampton plant is also investing in three new “top hat” derivatives to complement their existing portfolio.
Lastly, Dias wanted to work on the issues surrounding the Etobicoke casting plant, saying that, at the time of the 2016 negotiations, Unifor had more than 500 members working in that facility, and today it has less than 200 members. This will change as a result of this set of contract negotiations, said Dias.
Unifor negotiated for 2 more products to be launch at the casting plant, as well as one already in the process of launching.
“These three products in totality will lead to the recall of over 100 members at the Etobicoke casting plant. We believe we are heading in the direction to give our members that work in Etobicoke and that kind of comfort that they so rightfully deserve,” said Dias.
As Dias continued, he drove home the fact that the auto industry employs roughly 120,000 direct jobs and more than 500,000 when you look at the spinoff.
Not to mention, this industry’s workers pay over 2.6 billion a year in taxes. The auto industry, Dias said, is Canada’s number one manufacturer and that is why these agreements with Ford, FCA and hopefully General Motors (GM), are so necessary.
“We understand the importance of this industry and once we started talking about electric vehicles, we are aware that it’s not only our members in the auto industry but it now includes workers in the mining industry across this country, such as mining aluminum in B.C., cobalt in northern Ontario, and lithium in Quebec,” said Dias.
More details regarding the tentative contract will be presented to Unifor members in the coming days, who will then vote to accept or reject the contract. Prior to this announcement, Unifor had voted to accept the contract reached with Ford Motor Company, Dias hopes for the same result as they prepare to start negotiations all over again with General Motors.