Deal with Fiat Chrysler secures $1.5 billion electric vehicle investment

Andrew Cummings
October 17, 2020

Unifor has reached a tentative agreement for 9,000 workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Canada, a deal the union says could see the automaker invest $1.5 billion and add 2,000 jobs.

One of the highlights of the deal is the automobile manufacturer's plans to invest up to $1.5 billion at the Windsor, Ont., assembly plant.

The news came as part of an interim agreement with Canadian auto workers (Unifor), announced by the union's national president Jerry Dias on Thursday.

Said Jerry Dias, "Not only is Fiat-Chrysler maintaining the current portfolio but they will be investing three derivatives to enhance the current portfolio". Fiat Chrysler past year unveiled plans to eliminate a third shift at the Windsor plant, which put 1,500 people out of work.

Additionally, the headcount at Fiat Chrysler in Canada is expected to grow by almost 2,000 as a result of the new platform, with workers starting to come on board in 2023.

Securing new investment and vehicle production has been a priority for Unifor during the recent labour talks with the Detroit Three auto companies.

More details of the tentative agreement will be presented to Unifor members during a series of virtual ratification meetings over the weekend, and members will vote on whether to accept the agreement over a 24-hour period, starting at 10 am on Sunday. That investment by Ford was supported by $590 million in funding from the federal and Ontario governments. The Unifor president also said that FCA's pending merger with Peugeot-maker PSA Group, which would create the world's fourth-largest carmaker, didn't affect the negotiations.

FCA will be supplying the majority of the financial investment, but Dias said the company is still in talks with both the province and Ottawa for some financial support.

Before the Wednesday night deadline, Unifor had warned members to prepare for a strike, saying talks had bogged down on issues related to wages, health-care benefits and investment commitments at the Canadian factories.

"There is room for another model on two shifts, however, the plant operated on three shifts for so long that workers are more than ready to add another high-volume product", he said of the Windsor facility.

FCA Canada said only that it has reached a tentative agreement with Unifor on a new contract.

Bargaining is expected to begin with General Motors Canada later next week.

Other reports by iNewsToday