Unifor Local 444 president James Stewart speaks during a strike authorization vote on February 11, 2018. Photo courtesy Unifor Local 444/Facebook.

Windsor Parts Suppliers Head to 11th Hour of Talks

Negotiations are ongoing as the contracts for four Windsor auto part suppliers expire this weekend.

Unifor Local 444, which represents workers at the four suppliers, is engaged in 11th hour negotiating Saturday night. These suppliers almost exclusively¬†feed parts to¬†Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant.

The union confirms that a tentative agreement has been reached with one of the suppliers, Avencez Assembly, which supplies the plant with tires.

Union local president James Stewart tells BlackburnNewsWindsor.com that progress with Avencez sets the tone for the rest of the negotiations.

“They’ve established now what we consider to be a pattern,” says Stewart. “We are in the process right now of bargaining with the other three.”

The other three suppliers are Dakkota Integrated Systems and HBPO Canada, whose contracts are due to expire at midnight Saturday; and ZF Friedrichshafen, whose deal expires at midnight Sunday, says Stewart.

Stewart says a strike, which could potentially cripple production at the Windsor Assembly Plant, is still possible, and there’s still work to do.

“We’ve got some challenges,” says Stewart. “We’ve presented the pattern. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in order to achieve the idea of not having a strike, so we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Wages and benefits are sticking points, says Stewart, though particular attention is being paid to working conditions.

Union members overwhelmingly authorized strike action at the four suppliers last month.

Keep following BlackburnNewsWindsor.com for the latest on this developing story.