'Breakthrough' in dispute between contractor, Unifor at FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant

·2 min read

Unifor members have removed a blockade from outside FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant and returned to work after being called back through their contractor.

The blockade was erected by Unifor Local 444 members at the plant's Vimy Avenue entrance on Jan. 4 due to a dispute involving the contractor for the group of workers who drive the newly built vans away from the plant ahead of shipment.

Previously, the workers were employees of Automotive Warehouse Company, and were represented by Unifor.

The contract for the service was taken over by Motipark, a subsidiary of the Essex Terminal Railway Company, on Jan. 1 after a bidding process last year, putting the Unifor members out of work.

But on Monday, Unifor said it heard that FCA contacted AWC management and called back its staff, who began working again at 7 a.m. In a Facebook post Monday, Unifor said it had had a "breakthrough."

"Right now the resolution is the best resolution to keep the Windsor Assembly Plant running,"said Unifor Local 444 president Dave Cassidy. "It's a partial victory for us."

But its not clear what the permanent resolution is.

Cassidy added that he'd like to see FCA null-in-void the contract it has with Motipark and renegotiate it's former contract with AWC.

"The best case scenario is for our workers at AWC to go back and continue what they do best and to allow AWC to take the commercial contract for the releasing yard at FCA," he said, adding that he hopes and expects the workers will continue to be employed there.

But at this time, he said he's unsure what has happened with the contract between Motipark and FCA and has not yet heard from either of them.

In an emailed response, FCA Canada told CBC News that it is not commenting on the situation but confirmed that production at the plant resumed Monday.

CBC News has reached out to Motipark, but has yet to receive a response.