The Canadian Press
TORONTO – Unifor says it has reached a tentative agreement for 9,000 workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Canada, averting a strike at six plants across the country.
The deal must now be voted on and approved by the workers.
Unifor national president Jerry Dias calls it the “best economic agreement” in more than two decades.
He says the automobile manufacturer has agreed to invest up to $1.5 billion at the Windsor assembly plant.
Dias says Windsor will have two platforms, one for the Pacifica and Voyager minivans and a new platform set to launch in 2024 with at least one plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle.
Dias says the headcount at Fiat Chrysler will grow by nearly 2,000 as a result, with workers starting to come on board in 2023.
He says this commitment will bring back a third shift that was eliminated this summer, which saw 1,500 positions eliminated.
After restructuring and retirement incentives, Dias says about 425 workers were laid off.
The negotiations between Fiat Chrysler and Unifor came after the union reached a deal last month with Ford Motor Co., creating a template for talks with the other Detroit automakers.
Unifor went into this year’s negotiations with concerns about restoring the third shift in Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor and Brampton, Ont., facilities.
The union said on Wednesday that negotiations had continued through the Thanksgiving weekend, as Fiat Chrysler challenged elements of the union’s agreement with Ford, including wages and health-care benefits.
The details of the tentative agreement will be presented to Unifor members during a series of virtual ratification meetings over the weekend.
Members will vote on whether to accept the agreement over a 24-hour period, starting Sunday morning.
The deal with Ford included plans to produce electric vehicle batteries, alongside investments from both the federal and Ontario governments.