FCA’s Large Cars to Ride on As Supplier Strike Ends


Car building will soon fire up again at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant after employees at a just-in-time seat supplier called of their week-long strike. Late Friday, workers at Lear Ajax ratified a four-year wage contract with their employer.

Brampton Assembly, which builds the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger, cancelled both shifts on Thursday after exhausting its limited seat supply. The new agreement between Lear and its Ajax workforce not only keeps seats flowing to FCA, it also keeps Lear from closing its doors for good.

The supplier’s workers overwhelmingly rejected an earlier contract offer, after which the company sent a letter to union leadership claiming it planned to close the plant. Lear Ajax previously turned out the lights in 2009, only to re-open the following year.

According to Unifor Local 222 President Colin James, the closure threat wasn’t a bargaining tactic. Lear did plan to pull the plug if workers rejected the second offer, James told Automotive News Canada. Go figure, the membership voted 72 percent in favor. The supplier’s employees did win out in the agreement, however, gaining a 15 percent wage increase over the length of the contract, plus a productivity bonus and retirement incentive.

“This was a difficult negotiation but in the end the bargaining committee and the company were able to come to an agreement that provides gains for the workers and keeps these good paying manufacturing jobs in Ajax,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias in a statement.

With business as usual returning to Lear, the same should occur at Brampton this coming week.

Exceptionally long in the tooth, FCA’s rear-drive cars (its only cars, really) are expected to soldier on until a delayed platform swap occurs in 2021. Knowing the automaker, that timeline could change. Originally, FCA planned to move its LX platform cars onto Alfa architecture by 2019.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]