Brampton FCA Plant Shuts Down as Supplier Strike Continues


2016 Dodge Charger R/T, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cancelled both shifts at its Brampton, Ontario assembly plant Thursday, stemming the flow of Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger models.

Blame the work stoppage on a lack of seats. Brampton’s just-in-time supplier, Lear, saw its workforce go on strike last weekend after failing to reach a collective-bargaining agreement. However, a new wrinkle in this relatively commonplace labor action is that Lear plans to close its plant.

Lear Ajax employees walked off the job early Saturday, but by Tuesday there seemed to be a ray of light. A tentative agreement was reached between the company and Unifor Local 222, the workers’ union, but employees voted it down (to the tune of 94 percent) during a ratification meeting held the same day.

The following day, Lear Corp. issued a letter to the plant’s chairperson, stating its plans to close the Ajax plant. The closure would take effect “as soon as practical,” the company stated, but not before the conclusion of its current programs. Obviously, FCA needs those seats.

With its current seat supply used up, FCA Canada had no choice but to turn off the lights on Thursday.

“FCA cancelled both shifts at its Brampton Assembly Plant today as a result of ongoing negotiations between Lear and Unifor,” wrote Lou Ann Gosselin, head of communications for FCA Canada, in an email to TTAC late Thursday.

While there’s no danger to 300, Charger, and Challenger sales just yet, the drying up of production clearly gave the union leverage in its talks with Lear. Unifor announced a new tentative agreement on Friday morning. A ratification meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. today, so we’ll know the near-term production fate of FCA’s full-size cars before the weekend.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]