UPDATE: Last Minute Deal Averts FCA Strike

FCA President Sergio Marchionne and Unifor President Jerry Dias at the launch of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, May 6, 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Relief at Fiat-Chrysler in Windsor, Brampton and Etobicoke after contract talks between the company and Unifor produced a last minute deal.

There were signs of trouble Monday afternoon when the union announced just after 4pm that Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles was resisting the pattern set in the contract with General Motors last month.

Unifor Director of Communications Denise Hammond said Fiat-Chrysler had made no commitments in regards to investment in Canadian plants, a major issue outlined by Unifor for all three automakers in this round of negotiations.

By 8pm, the situation sounded more dire as Hammond told reporters talks had hit a major hurdle and the union was concerned about the direction negotiations were headed.

However, in the remaining four hours, the sides compromised enough to reach a deal.

Workers will get a 2% increase in the first and fourth year of the agreement, a $6,000 signing bonus and $2,000 lump sum payment.

There was also an eleventh-hour turnaround on investment.

Unifor President Jerry Dias says Fiat-Chrysler has agreed to invest $325-million to build a new paint factory at the Brampton assembly plant, and move forward on plans to build the first plug-in hybrid vehicle in Canada in Windsor.

Windsor’s plant took a back seat to more pressing concerns at Fiat-Chrysler’s other plants, but Dias says there aren’t the same concerns about the future.

“They just invested $2.6-billion and when companies invest $2.6-billion they want to get a return on their investment,” he says. “We’re sitting pretty good right now in Windsor.”

Dias says once the contracts are ratified at all three automakers, the next challenge will involve senior governments.

“Clearly the next discussion has to be about what is the next generation? What does it look like? What is the future of the industry?” he says.

The ratification vote is scheduled for Sunday, October 16 at the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre on College Ave. The doors will open at 7am, and the meeting will get underway at 9am.