Nemak Windsor workers shocked and heartbroken after plant closure announcement

Unifor Local 200 profile picture. July 16, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Unifor Local 200)

The union representing shocked workers at the Nemak plant in Windsor is vowing to fight to save those jobs.

Nemak announced on Tuesday afternoon that it is closing its plant in Windsor by the middle of next year because a customer in China is phasing-out an export program early, taking the plant’s capacity in Windsor to below 10 per cent by 2020.

Unifor Local 200 President John D’Agnolo told that he wants to speak with Nemak officials in Mexico to get another product at the plant in west Windsor.

The plant currently has 200 employees working and produces 2.0-litre aluminum engine blocks for the GM plant in Shanghai, China. D’Agnolo said 70 workers are on layoff. D’Agnolo said work is drying up and it’s unacceptable that Windsor is paying the price.

“We haven’t seen layoffs in the last six months but we were hoping the economy in China would turn around and it looks like it’s not,” said D’Agnolo.

D’Agnolo said he made it clear to the company at their meeting in Windsor on Tuesday afternoon that the union will do whatever it takes to keep the Windsor plant open.

“Obviously the next program of the 2.0 litre, we would like that program. We will have discussions on that but until we sit across the table and talk to the leadership of Nemak, we will continue to fight to keep those workers,” he added.

D’Agnolo hopes the company remembers there is a collective bargaining agreement in place until 2022 and Nemak got money from Ottawa in 2017 to keep its doors open.

“I want them to recognize that when they’re looking at that site because the workers made a lot of sacrifices and the government gave them money to keep that site viable,” D’Agnolo said.

The CEO of Nemak, Armando Tamez, said the company will make every effort to support the workers during this period.

The Windsor plant represents approximately one per cent of Nemak’s consolidated revenues.