Chrysler, Unifor set to discuss automaker's future in Canada

Chrysler and Unifor will discuss the future of the automaker in Canada at a meeting next week, CBC Windsor has learned.

Union rep expects to discuss longevity of manufacturing in Canada with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will meet with Unior officials next week in Michigan. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Chrysler and Unifor will discuss the future of the automaker in Canada at a meeting next week, CBC Windsor has learned.

The meeting between the automaker and the union that represents thousands of Chrysler workers at two Ontario plants is planned for May 6 at the company's world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Dino Chiodo, president of Unifor Local 444, which represents about 4,500 hourly employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant in southwestern Ontario, told CBC Windsor's Gino Conte that he will meet with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

"He’s supposed to unravel a five-year plan," Chiodo said.

Chiodo said he's excited to be invited to participate in discussions about the longevity of manufacturing in Canada.

He says the union hopes to learn more about investment opportunities in Canada.

Chiodo hopes Marchionne will overlook comments by provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who said the auto industry does not need financial assistance and called Chrysler's initial request for financial aid "a ransom."

Marchionne withdrew his public request for government assistance earlier this year, saying the issue became "a political football."

Chrysler said in March it will now "fund out of its own resources whatever capital requirements the Canadian operations require."

At that time, Marchionne only guaranteed the next generation of Chrysler minivan would be built in Windsor. He had been planning an overhaul of the product and assembly plant.

Chiodo hinted that Chrysler still has plans for a Windsor investment of "between $1.2 billion and $2 billion."

"I'm pleased with the amount of work they are talking about. We have no timelines to the actual launch [but] we do know there's a significant amount of work," Chiodo said of the minivan line.

There are about 9,000 hourly Chrysler workers in Canada.

Chiodo says it's important to know what's in store for the company, especially in Canada.

"He's going to be talking about components that I think are important to the longevity of manufacturing in Canada," Chiodo said. "I think he'll touch on the North American market, potentially the European market."

CBC Windsor emailed Chrysler Canada for comment but has not yet received a reply.


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