Politicians speak out on Windsor Assembly job losses
Government officials are expressing concern over looming job losses at the Windsor Assembly Plant.
Federal, provincial and municipal leaders are reacting to the announcement by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday that the third shift will be eliminated at Windsor Assembly by Sept. 30, 2019.
The move is expected to impact 1,500 employees.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he will be speaking to FCA Canada and Unifor to urge them to work with the province to protect the jobs.
"In the face of this extremely disappointing announcement from Fiat Chrysler, our government will not waver in our support for the thousands of men and women that go to work in Ontario's auto sector every day,” said Ford in a statement.
“I want the employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant to know that my government stands with you and your families. We will fight tooth and nail to protect the jobs of the auto workers in Windsor,” Ford added.
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens said the premier called him on Thursday evening to stress his support.
“We had a great conversation just a few minutes ago with the premier. He indicated strong support for Windsor,” said Dilkens. “Whatever we need, he'll be there to support.”
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is asking the province to step in.
“Families had their financial security and future plans erased," said Horvath. “The province can and must step up, step in, and find out right away how the government can stem or stop the job losses, and ensure workers land on their feet."
Horwath’s New Democrat contingent from Windsor-Essex at Queen’s Park, made up of Taras Natyshak, Percy Hatfield and Lisa Gretzky, also weighed in with their own joint statement.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the 1,500 direct job losses in our community. Our thoughts are with these 1,500 workers and their families, whose financial security was ripped away and whose future is suddenly uncertain,” the statement reads.
“We know that Windsor-Essex can continue to be the world leader in manufacturing cars of the future. However, the government must take concrete action to ensure that Ontario stays on the cutting edge of this sector. We need an auto strategy. We need investments. “
Windsor-West NDP MP Brian Masse said the announcement is "devastating news," in a statement.
Essex NDP MP Tracey Ramsey said the "job losses will lead to the loss of thousands of others in the supplier plants, vendors and other businesses that depend on the facility."
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh responded to the news on Twitter.
"All of Canada’s New Democrats are with the people of Windsor tonight where 1500 jobs will be cut by Chrysler -- the community and families need to know their government has their back. Trudeau cannot sit back and wait, we need a National Auto Strategy now," wrote Singh.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, to Windsor today, sharing the federal government's disappointment in the decision to phase out the third shift at Windsor Assembly.
"I am very disappointed by the news coming from the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) plant in Windsor,” said Bains. “My immediate thoughts are with the affected employees, their families and the community of Windsor.”
Bains visited Windsor Friday to “offer our government's unwavering support for these workers and their families, and our commitment to fight for their jobs."
Following his trip to Windsor Assembly, the minister issued the following statement:
"I saw first-hand the impact on the workers and families of Windsor, of FCA's decision to realign production with a drop in global sales.
"In my conversations, I assured workers that our government is behind them and will fight for their jobs," said Bais. "Our government remains committed to being a strong strategic partner with FCA for the long term and, indeed, with all automotive manufacturers who are seeking to make full use of their Canadian plants.
Windsor Assembly employs more than 6,000 workers. When operating at full volume, the Windsor plant produces nearly 1,500 minivans per day.