'It's scary:' Auto workers in Windsor, Ont. 'nervous' about Trump's auto tariff threat

U.S. President Donald Trump's threat of a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian vehicles is driving up anxiety in Windsor and causing real concern among auto workers on the shop floor.

Retirees even worried about pensions

Workers at the Chrysler (FCA) assembly Plant in Windsor, Ont. are worried about how possible auto tariffs will affect their jobs. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump's threat of a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian vehicles is driving up anxiety in Windsor and causing some real concern among auto workers on the shop floor.

Unifor says roughly 38,000 jobs in Windsor-Essex are tied to manufacturing.

"I'm nervous," said Steve Morgan, an auto worker at the Windsor Assembly Plant.

Steve Morgan is an auto worker at the Windsor Assembly Plant. (Jason Viau/CBC)

He helps build minivans for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — many of which are shipped and sold in the U.S.

"If they impose tariffs on those cars, companies will probably come after the workers to make up for the loss in profit and that's the fear on the floor right now," he said.

With the ongoing trade war between Canada and the U.S., some workers attended a special 'People's Trade Town Hall' Wednesday night in Windsor hosted by Unifor, with four others taking place across the country.

Even retirees showed up, worried about their pensions.

"We have concerns that the jobs stay here because we still want to have our pensions funded," said Joanne Sinkevitch-Chaplin, who once worked at the General Motors plant in Windsor.

Joanne Sinkevitch-Chaplin is a retiree, formerly working at the General Motors plant in Windsor that shut down in 2010. (Jason Viau/CBC)

It shut down in 2010, taking 500 jobs with it.

Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy doesn't want to see anymore job losses in the industry, especially because of a "knee-jerk reaction" by Trump.

"There's so many different countries and states that can take these OEMs [original equipment manufacturer] and they can move more frequently than they have in the past and with the auto pact gone, it's scary for people," Cassidy said.

Some had said if a 25 per cent tariff is slapped on Canadian cars, it would be "Carmageddon" and the industry would grind to a halt.

Trump is clearly still thinking about it. On Monday, he slammed Canada's supply management system for dairy products and linked it to auto.

"If you want to do that, we're going to put a little tariff on your cars," Trump said.

About the Author

Jason Viau

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca