Nearly 300 jobs could be eliminated at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles as the automaker winds down its FCA Transport operations in Windsor.
"Retirement packages will be offered to eligible employees at the Windsor Assembly Plant, which includes FCA Transport," said a company spokesperson in a statement. "Those employees who elect not to take the package or are not eligible to retire will be offered positions at the Windsor Assembly Plant."
The company expects to contract its transport operations by the end of the year. The move could mean job cuts for 288 hourly employees and seven salary employees.
"We would be looking to outsource the business to outside carriers," said LouAnn Gossellin, an FCA spokesperson.
Union officials representing the workers said they will have plenty of discussions with the company before the end of the year as they try to mitigate the job losses.
Local 444 president Dino Chiodo said his group will not accept private transport companies at the plant.
"Non-unionized carriers, we're not interested in working with them," he said. "They're not going to be bringing products to our docks."
Chiodo said the union's national office and legal teams will be scrutinizing FCA's announcement in the coming months.
"There's a lot of dialogue and discussion that's going to have to take place before they get this done or achieved," he said.
Workers at the Windsor shop have been hearing rumours about the company's plans for weeks, according to driver Ryan Bilyk.
He said he's less worried than many of his colleagues because the union will do what it can to stop the move.
Even if FCA tries to contract out the work, there's no guarantee a company will be willing to bite, he said. A similar attempt was made in 2010 when a company came in, kicked the tires on the operation, but walked away in the end, Bilyk explained.
"I'm not saying it's not serious, but the writing's not on the wall," he said. "They're hoping to outsource us, but let's see where the numbers come in."