Windsor

Microchip shortage extends shutdown at Windsor Assembly Plant — again

An ongoing shortage of microchips has resulted in the Windsor Assembly Plant shutting down for another week — and now the local union president is calling for those types of parts to be made in Canada in an effort to prevent further shutdowns.

Union calling for microchips, other parts like batteries, to be made domestically

An ongoing shortage of microchips has resulted in the Windsor Assembly Plant shutting down for another week — and now the local union president is calling for those types of parts to be made in Canada in an effort to prevent further shutdowns. (Submitted by FCA Canada)

An ongoing global shortage of microchips has resulted in the Windsor Assembly Plant shutting down for another week.

The shutdown, which began March 29, was originally supposed to last four weeks but after several extensions, the duration of the closure will be at least seven weeks with workers currently due to return May 17.

Much like the previous extensions, workers were told just days before their expected return May 10 that the shutdown would be prolonged, the union said.

"It's terrible. This has to be fixed. We need to start manufacturing products here in Canada," said Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy.

"[Employees] were planning on going back next week and here we are now notifying them that they'll be off again next week."

A spokesperson for Stellantis Canada confirmed that the plant would be down for the second week of May, and said the company "continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry."

The chip shortage has affected many automakers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford Motor Co, Renault, Subaru, Nissan, Honda and Mazda.

To prevent further shutdowns from happening for the same reason, Cassidy said parts need to be made in Canada. He added this is a clear indicator that the money being saved to build microchips overseas is not worth the investment.

"We have a lot of people that have a lot of expertise and we have a lot of skills over here in Canada. Let's put it to good use," he said. "It's not just the chips. Tomorrow, it could be the batteries for the electric vehicle." 

On Wednesday, Stellantis announced the chip shortage should improve in the second half of 2021, but warned the disruption to the auto industry could last into 2022.

The company added chip shortages cut about 11 per cent of Stellantis's planned production in the first quarter.

With files from Reuters

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