Ford Canada's $700-million investment in its Oakville assembly plant is good for Windsor, claims the union representing workers at the Essex Engine Plant.
The federal government will pitch in $71.6 million, and Ontario will contribute $70.9 million to upgrade the plant.
"It shows Ford is committed to its Canadian operations. Both levels of government said there’s nothing more important to the Ontario economy than the auto industry," Unifor Local 200 president Chris Taylor said.
In his next breath, Taylor was envious.
"I wish the announcement was Windsor," he said.
Thursday marked the second time in a calendar year Ford Motor Co. made a $700-million investment in its operations.
In December, Ford said it would spend about $773 million US to expand six Michigan manufacturing plants while adding 2,350 factory jobs in the state.
Neither the Oakville or Michigan expansions will directly affect Windsor.
Taylor remains confident though. He said global and North American demand for Ford products is on the rise.
"That bodes well for us in engine division. At some point, they will have to add engines to maintain the sales rate. We’re always pushing Ford on our need to fill the capacity at our plant," Taylor said. "Ford is extremely happy with our work force. They continue to tell us 'you’re doing all the right things'. That will put us in line for anything that comes up in the future. We really need to keep reminding Ford if you want a place to launch an engine quickly, at cost and of quality, Windsor’s the place to go."
The announcement Thursday secured employment of 2,800 hourly workers and could lead to the creation of other jobs.
The union stressed the impact on employment will go beyond the plant because of the many jobs that will be indirectly created as a result of the plant's operations.
"Every job in this plant supports another six, seven jobs," said Jerry Dias, president of Unifor.
In Windsor, Unifor Local 200 represents 1,500 workers, 500 of which are on layoff.
Ford also said Thursday it will increase its spending on Canadian-made auto parts by $200 million to a total of $4 million a year. There was no word on where that money will be spent.