Windsor Nemak plant to close by mid-2020
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2019 3:32PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 17, 2019 6:26PM EDT
The Windsor Nemak plant is closing next year.
Nemak announced Tuesday the closure of operations in Windsor by mid-2020.
The plant has 270 employees and produces engine blocks for General Motors.
Most of the employees at the plant are with Unifor Local 200.
“It’s heartbreaking,” says Unifor Local 200 president John D’Agnolo. “It’s devastating, but we’re going to do what we can to keep that work here in Windsor.”
D'Agnolo adds the union will hold information meetings on Friday, where members can ask questions and see where to go from here.
"We're going to have some more discussions," says D'Agnolo. "We want to keep that site open and we're looking for new investment and we'll do what we can. We'll obviously have to have some discussions with the government to see if we can keep the work in Windsor."
“We recognize it's not easy for everybody,” says Nemak spokesperson Louise Gaudette. “You know everybody is going to lose their job at some point here and we're going to try to make that transition as best as it can be.”
The plant represents approximately one per cent of Nemak’s consolidated revenues.
The company says this decision is a result of the early phase-out of an export program with a customer in China, which is expected to bring capacity utilization at the plant to less than 10 per cent by 2020.
CTV News has learned the program is with GM Shanghai and sales of vehicles that use a 2L engine block made at Nemak have dropped 75 per cent.
"Given our outlook on capacity utilization and volumes in Windsor, we have made the decision to end production at this facility,” said Armando Tamez, CEO of Nemak. "We are deeply grateful to the many people who have contributed to our business in Windsor over the years and we will make every effort to support them during this period.”
The company has received nearly $5 million since 2015 to secure work at the Windsor facility.
In January 2017, the Windsor Nemak plant got $3 million in funding from the federal government through the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program.
In 2015, the plant received a $1.5-million grant from the province's Southwestern Ontario Devlopment Fund.
Windsor city council also agreed to give Nemak $1.3 million over five years in 2016 an effort to secure work, but city officials say the company never took advantage of the funding.
The company employs more than 23,000 people at 38 facilities worldwide. In 2018, it generated revenues of US$4.7 billion.
The news is just the latest blow to the auto industry in Windsor.
Unifor is still trying to save the third shift at the Windsor Assembly Plant after FCA Canada announced it will end production on October 21, throwing 1,500 employees out of work.
Hundreds of other workers at feeder plants in Windsor-Essex are affected by that FCA announcement.
In his inaugural address at the first meeting of the new council in December 2018, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens called on members to help diversity the city's economy so that it wasn't so dependent on the auto industry.