Production at Chrysler’s minivan assembly plant in Ontario stopped by workers’ strike

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 2, 2012

A workers’ strike at the Chrysler Group’s minivan assembly plant in Ontario, Canada had forced a shutdown in production. A warning was issued by Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne to these workers, saying that he thinks that the next round of talks would be “very difficult.” The strike came after the automaker rejected a proposed contract agreement last Sunday.

Those who joined the strike are around 190 Dakkota Integrated Systems employees who are represented by Canadian Auto Workers Local 444. Dakkota makes instrument panels for the Windsor Assembly Plant's Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans.

Marchionne asserted that this isn’t the right way to build a car company. The national pact between Chrysler and the CAW is set to expire this September. Chrysler doesn’t have a no-strike deal with the CAW.

Because of Chrysler’s bankruptcy in 2009, the UAW in the U.S. accepted a no-strike clause through 2015. Minivan supplies are already low but they will be hurt further by a lengthy closure of the factory.

Through March of this year, Chrysler has reported that its sales increased by 39% in the U.S. after getting a 26% boost in 2011. Chrysler has also surpassed Ford Motor Co. and General Motors in Canadian sales. Dakkota is a joint venture between Rush Group and Intier Automotive Interiors, a subsidiary of Magna International Inc. Dakkota also released a statement to say that it was dismayed by the union’s decision to force a strike.

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