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FCA decision painful but not crippling to local economy, auto experts say

Dave Waddell, Windsor Star

March 29, 2019


The impact of FCA Canada’s announcement on Thursday that it would eliminate a shift and up to 1,500 jobs at its Windsor Assembly Plant quickly spread to the plant’s Tier 1 suppliers.


Magna International confirmed Friday that its Integram Windsor Seating plant in Lakeshore would mimic Windsor Assembly’s schedule.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said in addition to the 1,500 FCA employees, workers at Tier 1 suppliers to the Windsor plant, like Integram, would be most affected. “It’s not the same as Oshawa,” Volpe said.


“We don’t have a plant shutting and the end of a program. As hard as it is for the 1,500 employees and their families, the plant still has two shifts.


“It’s still considered a healthy plant.”

Volpe said the supply chain locally as well as provincially in the auto industry won’t be damaged significantly by the loss of one shift.


“The pain will be mostly in Windsor because it affects one shift, at one plant, with one company and one segment,” Volpe said. “However, that doesn’t lessen the pain for those affected.”


Volpe said the auto parts sector has seen a bump in sales since the NAFTA negotiations were settled. Windsor-based suppliers, he added, also expect to pick up business from FCA’s US$4.5-billion investment in a new Detroit plant.


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Fiat Cuts 1,500 Jobs as Canada Plant Reduces Minivan Output

Chester Dawson, Bloomberg

March 28th, 2019


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is cutting about 1,500 jobs at a factory in Canada that’s scaling back production due to slowing minivan sales.


The Italian-American automaker plans to eliminate the third shift at its assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, beginning Sept. 30, according to an emailed statement. The company produces Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans at the facility, which employed more than 6,100 workers as of January.

Both Windsor and Oshawa are built around the auto industry. Flavio Volpe, head of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, estimated in November that 10,000 jobs were tied to companies that supply parts for the GM Oshawa plant.


“This is devastating for the city of Windsor,” David Cassidy, head of the Local 444 branch of Unifor, Canada’s auto union, told reporters at a press conference aired by public broadcaster CBC.


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Feeder plants to feel the pinch with FCA’s Windsor Assembly Plant losing third shift

CBC News

March 29, 2019


Two feeder plants for the Windsor Assembly Plant are waiting to find out what will happen once Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cancels the third shift on Sept. 30, 2019.


FCA announced its decision to indefinitely terminate the third shift Thursday afternoon. There are approximately 1,500 people who will be out of work as of September.

Flavio Volpe, president of Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, said while it’s surprising that 1,500 WAP workers will be losing their jobs, this situation isn’t equivalent to what is happening with GM in Oshawa, where the company is closing its assembly plant entirely.


FCA isn’t shutting down a plant, or pulling out a product, according to Volpe, and eliminating a shift is part of the planning and replanning of a business.


“This is how one specific company in one plant has decided to reconfigure how it produces that product in response to a current market demand. It is not a harbinger of things to come,” said Volpe.


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