Windsor, Ont. –
A day after Stellantis announced it would be cutting the Windsor Assembly plant to one shift next spring — eliminating about 1,800 jobs — workers say they are in shock.
Stellantis Electrician Andy Probyn said, “Yesterday we took one on the chin at Windsor Assembly. A hard one. Our jaw has been rattled… This is bad for the community, it really will cause a ripple throughout Essex County.”
Lead Electrician John Desjardins added, “Very sad. The air was sad. A lot of frustrated employees.”
Both Probyn and Desjardins were working when the news broke.
“It was a shock. People were working. They just kept working. Building. But you could see it sinking in. Even our management team didn’t see it coming,” Probyn said.
The company is attributing the move to the worldwide shortage of semiconductors and the effects of COVID-19.
Desjardins said, “I’ve been there when the third shift went to two shifts. Now that we go down to one shift, what’s going to happen next? Hopefully it doesn’t happen. Time will tell.”
UNIFOR Local 195 President Emile Nabbout says the announcement is worrisome.
“This is not good news at all…We are worried a lot. On the news we see and the future for many good paying jobs affecting not only our members but as a community as a whole.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens echoes Nabbout’s concerns.
“This is a tough blow for 1,800 people – 1,800 families in our community today.
Dilkens said it will have a significant impact on Windsor and the region
“For every job in the plant seven, eight or nine jobs in the community will rely on it. So the impact of losing 1,800 is significant in the community. There’s going to be a lot of folks in the community worried going into Christmas.”
Desjardins and Probyn say they are staying hopeful for the future of the Windsor Assembly Plant.
“There’s going to be something positive at some point to come out of it. We are here. It’s Windsor and we build great cars in Windsor. We’ll see,” Probyn said.
Desjardins is also taking a wait-and-see approach, “Hopefully this is just not going to happen. We won’t know until April.”
Official statement from Unifor National
Unifor is deeply concerned with Stellantis’ decision to transition the Windsor Assembly Plant to a one-shift operation next spring. Although Stellantis reiterated its commitment to invest up to $1.5 billion in the plant and transition to a three shift operation in the future, this decision threatens the livelihoods of 1,800 highly skilled autoworkers and their families and jeopardizes hundreds more auto-related jobs throughout the province. Unifor is carefully monitoring this situation and will explore all possible options.
Additional official statements, including from Stellantis are here.