Employees at Kautex may go on strike
There could be a disruption at automotive plants across North America.
Employees at Kautex in Windsor may go on strike later this week.
There are about 200 employees at Kautex who are threatening to walk off the job, but they are confident a new contract can be reached before their current deal expires this Saturday night at midnight.
“Both of us have the same interests and I hope that we reach an agreement,” says Sarkis Gaspar, Kautex union chair.
“We remain committed to meeting with the union and to negotiate a new collective agreement,” says Sara Monger, spokesperson for Kautex.
But that may be more difficult after contract talks broke down last Friday.
“It's a good set of negotiations,” says Don White, Unifor Local 195. “I was there for three or four days. Everything was going good back and forth. It just come to an end Friday.”
A vote was held Saturday. The workers were in 100 per cent solidarity in mandating a strike position.
Kautex is one of the biggest auto suppliers in the world, with over 6,000 employees in 14 countries.
The Windsor plant manufactures fuel tanks for different vehicles.
Workers lived through the automotive downturn of 2009 and say they have not had a raise in since.
“Now the change has come,” says White. “Companies are making more money. Cars are selling better. things are getting better. People want their just due.”
White suspects the two sides will meet again prior to Saturday night's deadline.
“I don't think they're that far apart,” says White. “I think they'll get back together and iron out the issues that need to be ironed out.”
“To my knowledge there are no negotiation dates scheduled as of right now but that doesn't mean that can't change and we are certainly open to meeting with them,” says Monger.
Gaspar says “I cannot talk too much about them now but a couple of items we still need to address.”
Workers say they want a fair deal and if they don't get one, they are ready to walk.
“We absolutely want to have a good contract negotiated in good faith but I can't speculate as to what's going to happen. You may remember Kautex was temporarily shut down after last year's tornado along E.C. Row.”
It impacted operations at a Jeep plant in Illinois.
Company officials and workers both say they hope a deal can reached that won't shut down the plant again.