TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Fiat Chrysler's announcement that a new minivan at its Windsor facility will mean twice as many jobs as first expected is not only good news, it's a reflection of Canada's competiveness in the auto sector, Unifor National President Jerry Dias says.
"Canadian autoworkers can compete with any in the world," Dias said.
"We've got highly skilled and productive workers – a fact that is regularly recognized with top industry awards."
Fiat Chrysler announced Thursday at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto that production of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica in Windsor will result in about 1,200 jobs – twice what was originally expected.
The announcement comes on the heels of comments from auto industry advisor Ray Tanguay that both the federal and Ontario governments must do more to tell auto companies about the advantages of making cars in Canada – including an educated and skilled workforce, health care, corporate taxes, the low dollar and an established supply chain.
"There's a lot that goes into making an auto industry competitive, and Canada has much to offer auto manufacturers when they are looking for a place to build their cars," Dias said.
"We need to be more upfront in making sure our advantages are understood."
Dias said that after 10 years of the Harper government doing little to support the industry, Canada's largest export, it is vital that both the Ontario and federal governments work to ensure the continued prosperity of the auto sector in Canada.
Every job in an auto assembly plant results in nine more jobs with suppliers and other spinoffs, he said.
"There are huge advantages to the entire economy when auto jobs are created in Canada," Dias said. "That's what makes the Chrysler announcement such good news for everyone."
With contract talks with the Detroit Three automakers set to begin later this year, Unifor has said that bringing new products to Canadian assembly plants will be a priority at the bargaining table.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 40,000 in the auto sector. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information: Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054.