FCA workers would 'respect picket line' if nurses strike, says union

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More than 6,500 Fiat-Chrysler workers at the Windsor Assembly Plant would "definitely respect" picket lines if the 16 nurses who look after them every day decide to go on strike Friday, according to their union leader.

Of the 16 nurses who serve the thousands of FCA employees, only three are full-time, according to Ontario Nurses' Association First Vice-President Vicki McKenna.

"Auto is a tough industry, we all know that, but that doesn't mean they should be treated poorly," she said. "Many nurses are looking elsewhere for work because they don't have enough money for food."

At the heart of the dispute are two requests, according to McKenna — more full-time work and an increase in wages.

"Not huge," she explained. "But some sort of wage increases that will provide them something that's not them taking home less and less every day in their paycheck."

Part-time nurse salary stagnant

Part-time nurses hired at the plant since 2006 were hired at a set wage that has not changed. They also do not have access to a pension or benefits, McKenna said.

The company met with representatives of the nurses over three days, but has not been able to reach an agreement. Conciliation talks are scheduled for Friday.

If there is a strike, Unifor Local 444 President Dino Chiodo said his members would back up the nurses. Still, he hopes it doesn't come to that.

"I know our members will respect the picket line, but at the same time I'm cautiously optimistic they'll be able to get this behind them," he said.