General Motors reached a tentative labor deal with Unifor Tuesday, a turn of events that could affect how Fiat Chrysler’s talks with the Canadian labor union play out.
The GM deal will see the automaker move certain engine production ventures from Mexico to St. Catharines, Ontario, while GM’s Oshawa Assembly plant will receive a new vehicle. Additionally, existing workers at the plant will receive wage increases and new hires will be paid more and receive a signing bonus.
The successful negotiations with GM have Unifor president Gerry Dias confident that the union can reach tentative deals with both FCA and Ford Motor Company. He didn’t say which automaker the union is looking to enter talks with next, however.
“If we can get an agreement with General Motors without a dispute I’m very, very comfortable that we can find a settlement with the other two,” Dias told Canadian media on Tuesday.
For its deal with FCA, Unifor wants the automaker to upgrade the paint facility at its Brampton, Ontario assembly plant, which currently builds the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger and Challenger. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the costly upgrades nedded to make the aging Brampton plant competitive will be “on the table,” as part of the discussions.
In order to entice Marchionne to invest in Brampton, Canadian politicians will likely have to offer FCA some sort of incentive. Ontario didn’t give FCA any money to keep production of its minivan in Windsor, Ontario, but the automaker ended up making the investment anyway due to the plant’s importance. That’s unlikely to be the case with Brampton.
“We have lived through one example of our attempt at getting social support for the investment in Windsor, which had a very unfortunate outcome because politicians got involved,” Marchionne told Automotive News.
“We ended up making the investment in Windsor anyway, and we ended up making it on the basis of the viability of the plant as a stand-alone entity,” he added. “I make no comment about what the requirements are for Brampton going forward.”