Unifor has reached a tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) to keep 9,000 Canadian auto workers on the job.
FCA has agreed to invest in a state-of-the-art multi-energy vehicle platform at the Windsor Assembly Plant that will enable the assembly of both Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles with at least one new model in 2025.
The news came as part of an interim agreement with Canadian auto workers (Unifor), announced by the union's national president Jerry Dias on Thursday. FCA's Windsor assembly plant still employs 4,600 people, after a massive 1,500-person layoff in June when the facility moved into a two-shift schedule.
Unifor reached a new labor deal with Ford Motor Co. last month, which also secured a almost $1.5 billion investment in two plants and a commitment to build electric cars at a plant near Toronto.
Unifor has reached a tentative agreement for 9000 members @FiatChrysler_NA averting strike at plants in Windsor, Brampton, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Montreal, & Red Deer.
"This platform will have the ability to build multiple vehicles", he said, adding that it can "turn on a dime based on consumer demands".
In addition to keeping the existing product portfolio in Ontario, Dias says FCA has committed to adding three product derivatives to its plants. "But there's no question there are conversations happening with both levels of government to invest in the $1.5 billion". After restructuring and retirement incentives, about 425 workers were laid off.
The Brampton assembly plant would also see Can$50 million in investment, which woud allow additional models to be produced there.
Altogether, the deal comes with a total of $1.42 billion to $1.57 billion in new investments, he said.
A spokesperson for Industry Minister Navdeep Bains said in an emailed statement that they were "pleased to hear" that Unifor and FCA had reached a tentative deal, and that they are awaiting the results of the ratification vote.
Last year, Fiat Chrysler negotiated a new contract in the USA with the United Auto Workers that included wage increases and improved health-care benefits.
Before the Wednesday night deadline, Unifor had warned members to prepare for a strike, saying talks had bogged down on issues related to wages, health-care benefits and investment commitments at the Canadian factories. Members will vote on whether to accept the agreement over a 24-hour period starting this Sunday.