Windsor Assembly Plant to shutdown this fall for five weeks
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 9:34AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:02PM EDT
Six thousand Windsor workers, plus thousands more at feeder plants, will be off work this fall because the Dodge Grand Caravan needs to be re-designed.
Unifor Local 444 president James Stewart tells CTV Windsor the shutdown is still “tentative” in terms of the exact weeks, but he says the shutdown is “in the schedule.”
CTV Windsor has learned the shutdown was actually scheduled at the beginning of 2017, but the reason for the shutdown was never given.
The shutdown includes as many as four weeks in October, and the remaining time in November.
Stewart states the reason for the shutdown is, as of Aug. 31, FCA can no longer sell the Dodge Grand Caravan in the United States. He claims the specifications for side airbags changed and the Caravan doesn’t meet them.
Stewart says retooling the plant isn’t the hard part, rather it’s designing the side air bags to “fit perfectly with the design of the Caravan” that is the challenge.
The redesign, to fit in side airbags, is only for the Caravan, Stewart adds.
The Pacifica design was made with side airbags in mind.
In a written statement to CTV News FCA spokesperson Lou Ann Gosselin says “the Windsor Assembly Plant will be down for four weeks, starting the week of Oct. 2.”
Gosselin says a previously scheduled holiday down week was moved to the week of Nov. 27 to perform maintenance activities.
Under their collective agreement, Stewart says many of the 6,000 employees will have part of their salaries paid through benefits during the shutdown. But he admits none of the new employees hired to help build the Pacifica will be paid, and will have to apply for short-term employment insurance.
Stewart anticipates FCA will be selling Dodge Grand Caravans in the U.S. market by December.