March 28th, 2019Fiat 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.
“We will fight tooth and nail to protect the jobs of the auto workers in Windsor,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “My message to Fiat Chrysler is this: do not make this decision based on the anti-business policies of the former government over the past 15 years.”
Fiat Chrysler’s indefinite layoffs are a fresh blow to an already struggling Canadian auto industry. General Motors Co. announced in November it has no future product planned for its factory in Oshawa, Ontario. The plant, which employs about 2,600 assembly workers and has produced cars for more than half a century, may shut down as GM discontinues the Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS sedans.
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.
Ford said the government is cutting taxes, electricity rates and red tape. “There has never been a better time for auto manufacturers to invest in the province of Ontario,” Ford said in the statement.