Windsor Assembly Plant shut down for 8th week

·2 min read
The Windsor Assembly Plant is seen in a 2020 file photo. The plant has been shutdown since late March. (Bob Becken/CBC - image credit)
The Windsor Assembly Plant is seen in a 2020 file photo. The plant has been shutdown since late March. (Bob Becken/CBC - image credit)

A shutdown of the Windsor Assembly Plant that started in late March has been extended once again.

The Stellantis factory is one of many in the auto sector affected by a global shortage of semiconductors, which are used in electronics. Other automakers, such as Ford and General Motors, have slashed production.

The plant, which produces minivans including the Chrysler Pacifica, Voyager and Grand Caravan, was slated to be closed for a four-week period starting on March 29. The reopening has been delayed several times.

On Monday, Unifor Local 444 said the plant will be closed for the week of May 17.

"The company has informed the Union that the Windsor Assembly Plant will be down the week of May 17th," the union said in a social media post.

A spokesperson for Stellantis confirmed the plant will be shut down next week because of the "unprecedented global microchip shortage."

"Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry," spokesperson LouAnn Gosselin said in a statement.

The auto company, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, employs roughly 5,000 people at the Windsor Assembly Plant.

The factory has been shuttered twice this year because of the semiconductor shortage. In February, production was halted for three weeks.

During the plant's downtime, workers are eligible to receive Employment Insurance benefits, and some get a union-negotiated top up that brings their wages up to about 80 per cent of their regular earnings.

Nick Dimitriou, who has been an employee for 26 years, said he's lucky to get that supplement. But he worries about those who are not eligible, including some junior workers.

"Those that don't have that negotiated into their contracts, my heart goes out to them and it is a struggle," he said.

He said he's been helping out family and his community during the extended downtime.

"You try to keep busy. You gotta stay healthy, right?" he said.

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