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FCA Halts Production in Brampton Due to Supplier Strike

Dodge Challenger, Charger on hold for now.

by on May.04, 2018

Fiat Chrysler was forced to shut down its plant in Brampton, Ontario, due to a strike at its seat supplier, Lear.

Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. has been forced to close its assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, due to a strike at a plant in Ajax, Ontario, that feeds seats to the FCA factory.

A contract dispute between Unifor, the union representing some 320 hourly workers at the Ajax plant, and Lear Corp., led to a walkout last weekend. Workers rejected Lear’s latest contract offer and Lear responded by announcing that it planned to shut the Ajax plant permanently.

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The dispute mainly over wages, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

“Due to the resounding rejection of the tentative agreement by the membership on May 1, 2018, and other recent developments from our customer regarding the future work, the company is announcing a closure of the Lear Ajax plant,” the company said in a memo to Unifor leaders.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger gets seats from the Lear plant in Ajax, Ontario, which is on strike.

(FCA enjoys record Q1 results as plans fall into place. Click Here for the story.)

The plant will be closed “as soon as practical,” the memo to Unifor’s leadership says, but not before the vehicles made in Brampton are redesigned.

The Brampton plant builds passenger cars Chrysler 300, and FCA’s popular muscle cars, the Dodge Challenger and Charger. Last year, FCA agreed to spend $325 million to renovate the Brampton plant and build a new paint shop as part of its settlement of its own four-year labor contract with Unifor.

(Click Here for details about Dodge’s new shakedown package.)

The commitment to invest in the Brampton plant, signaled that it was preparing to redesign or add new models to the plant’s product mix early in the 2020s.

The FCA plant in Brampton, Ontario, is shutdown until the strike at Lear's plant that supplies seats is resolved.

FCA, which will reveal its next five-year plan next month, is also expected to add output of a crossover vehicle to the model mix amid a general decline in North America in sales of passenger cars.

(To see more about the transition from the old Jeep Wrangler to the new one, Click Here.)

However, Lear indicated during the dispute with Unifor that it does not yet have a long-term agreement with FCA to build seats for the Brampton plant, which apparently added to the tension in the current round of negotiations with the union and apparently made reaching agreement more difficult.

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