Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Politicians Voice Support for Windsor Auto Workers as 1,500 Job to Be Cut

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Politicians Voice Support for Windsor Auto Workers as 1,500 Job to Be Cut

Article excerpt

Politicians voice support for auto workers

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WINDSOR, Ont. - A second round of auto worker layoffs in recent months has led politicians to jump to assure workers as the automotive sector undergoes significant transformation.

Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains went to Windsor, Ont. Friday to voice his support after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. said it would cut 1,500 jobs at its assembly plant in the city.

"We're here to support workers, we want to fight for every single job," he said by phone ahead of a meeting with FCA president Reid Bigland.

The company said Thursday it would cut the third shift at its Windsor plant, which produces the Chrysler Pacifica and its hybrid version, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan, at the end of September to better align production with global demand.

The now looming cuts add to the 2,600 unionized jobs at risk after General Motors said in late November it would shut production at its Oshawa, Ont. assembly plant by the end of the year.

The combined cuts that will affect tens of thousands of spin-off jobs has grabbed the attention of politicians, said Unifor president Jerry Dias.

"I think there's a shift in mindset, in both provincial and federal political arenas. I think people are understanding now that rhetoric is cheap, people need action. People are really staring to understand that."

Bains said Friday the government would include the Pacifica hybrid model in an electric vehicle rebate program announced as part of the most recent federal budget after the union complained that it didn't meet the criteria.

"That should help Canadian families that are trying to drive cleaner vehicles to do so in a more affordable way," he said.

The government could also use a federal strategic innovation fund to potentially entice new investments in the sector, said Bains.

"We think we're really well positioned to continue to see new mandates here in Canada for the automotive sector. …

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