Union leaders described the deal as a historic deal that will help make Canada a “green car and green workplace leader” and which includes economic provisions “as good as we have seen in decades.”
“This year’s auto talks will go down in history as a transformative moment for the Canadian automotive sector,” said a statement from Unifors Dias, FCA Negotiating Committee Chairman James Stewart, and National Secretary Treasurer Lana Payne.
“Years of government neglect, job losses, and worker despair quickly turn into optimism, hope, and a very bright future. Canada is back in the game, and Unifor FCA members are part of it. ”
The plans for Windsor, which will continue to assemble the FCA’s minivans, make up the vast majority of the investment funds the FCA has pledged under the preliminary agreement. The FCA assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, will receive an investment of around 38 million US dollars over the term of the agreement, including the local “sustainability capital for the manufacturing operations” and the obligation to install a tempering air system.
FCA plans to continue building the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger during the term of the agreement and plans to introduce three variants of the latter two models. In their statement, the union leaders contrasted the situation in Windsor and Brampton.
“This is an important vote of confidence in Windsor – a key facility facing an uncertain future due to falling minivan sales,” the statement said. “Alternatively, declining sales are not what Brampton Assembly expects, where vehicle sales remain at near record highs.”
“Good news for Brampton”
The union called the capital build-up in Brampton “good news” as it continues to “pave the way for next generation products”.
The future of the Brampton plant has long been the subject of speculation. The Charger and Challenger models are still in demand and highly profitable for the car manufacturer. However, they’re based on one of the oldest platforms in the industry, and it’s not clear what plans FCA has for next-generation versions of these vehicles.
Once ratified, the FCA also plans to invest $ 14.4 million in its Etobicoke casting facility in Toronto. The facility would begin casting parts for the Jeep Wrangler and a nine-speed transmission.
The FCA’s three-year contract follows the model of the recently ratified contract between Unifor and Ford Motor Co. This contract was ratified in late September with 81 percent support among the union members entitled to vote.
The FCA contract includes $ 8,500 in bonuses, including a lump sum payment of $ 5,500 due on November 20 and two bonuses of $ 1,500 due in December 2021 and December 2022.
Full-time employees in production for full pay would also receive a flat-rate bonus of 4 percent in 2021 and a 2.5 percent increase in 2020 and 2022. Parity between FCA and Ford assembly workers, according to the union. In addition, the plan provides for the 20 percent wage gap between craftsmen and production workers to be restored by 2023.
Like the Ford deal, the preliminary FCA deal would cut the wage growth period for new hires to eight years. The percentage base salaries were also increased during the contractual year. For example, a new hire would earn 65 percent of the full base rate, up from 61.25 percent under the current arrangement.
According to Unifor, the FCA plans to offer a flat-rate pension package of $ 30,300 for up to 350 workers in early 2021, of which 275 are earmarked for the Brampton plant. Allocation of the remaining packages will be discussed between the company and the union at a later date, Unifor said.
FCA plans to recruit up to 75 apprentices, split between the two assembly plants and Etobicoke Casting. The company also confirmed plans to reverse a decision to outsource its transportation division in Windsor, the union said.
The FCA contract also includes various changes to healthcare benefits, including higher reimbursement of coverage for vision care, higher maximum amounts for dental care, and a new annual limit of $ 380 for medical cannabis prescribed by a doctor.
Under the agreement, Unifor and FCA’s annual business review meetings would be held every quarter. The meetings would focus on “the company’s product plans and business forecasting, including the development of electric, autonomous, connected vehicles and components,” according to the highlights sheet.
Should workers ratify the deal, Unifor would start negotiations with General Motors later this week. GM-Unifor’s discussions will focus on the automaker’s engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines, Ontario and the new parts operation at the former assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario.
The results of the FCA ratification should be known on Monday.