Flex-N-Gate employees on strike after voting down deal

Workers at Flex-N-Gate, which builds door frames, rejected the offer Friday afternoon, officially starting a work stoppage that the union representing them says could shut down the Windsor Assembly Plant.

Union says strike could shut down Windsor Assembly Plant

Workers at Flex-N-Gate hit the picket line on Friday May 19, 2017 after rejecting a tentative pact. (Stacey Janzer/CBC Windsor)

More than 200 employees at a Windsor auto parts manufacturer are on strike after voting down a tentative deal.

Fifty-five per cent of unionized workers at Flex-N-Gate voted no to a tentative agreement on Friday. Strike action began immediately and workers are already on the picket lines, said Gerry Farnham, president of Unifor Local 195. 

'We stand behind the membership, they've immediately commenced strike action," said Gerry Farnham, president of Unifor Local 195. "The employer knows that the offer was rejected."

Insufficient wage increases appeared to be the main sticking point for workers who voted against the deal, said Farnham.

Plant chair Don White explained employees are frustrated after giving up benefits, including vacation pay and their pension plan, to help the company then going more than a decade without seeing anything done for them in return.

"Over the last 10 years we've given a lot of givebacks because of the downsizing in the auto industry," he said. "It's 10 years since we've had any gains … the membership is fed up, they've had enough, and they want their stuff back."

Out on the picket line, Rob Foldesi, a 21-year employee at the parts supplier, said now that the company is making money again it should do something to help its workers.

"I hope they can come to something that's more fair and hopefully it won't take that long," he said.

Strike could shut down FCA

Strike action by workers at Flex-N-Gate, which builds door frames for Chrysler minivans, could shut down the Fiat Chrysler Windsor Assembly Plant, according to the union. Farnham said the union is waiting for Flex-N-Gate to come back to the bargaining table.

"I'm optimistic that the employer would not want to shut down FCA, that's for sure," said Farnham.

Farnham also speculated that, with the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, the Windsor Assembly Plant may not see an impact to production until several hours into the work day Tuesday.