Canada union says no agreement yet with Fiat Chrysler

Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:50pm EDT
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By Matt Scuffham

TORONTO (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU.N: Quote) has yet to reach a deal with unionized workers in Canada, four hours ahead of a midnight strike deadline, the union said on Monday, adding that workers were prepared to walk off the job.

Any strike by more than 9,000 of the company's Canadian workers would disrupt production of minivans built in Windsor, Ontario, including the new Chrysler Pacifica, as well as sedans assembled in Brampton, Ontario.

"No agreement has been reached," Denise Hammond, director of communications for the Unifor union, told reporters.

While Fiat Chrysler has enough inventory to weather a brief strike without it hitting sales, an extended walkout would be problematic. The company has about a 70 days supply of Pacifica minivans on hand, according to Automotive News.

Unifor represents Canadian manufacturing workers at Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) and General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote). It uses a pattern bargaining strategy to negotiate with the three automakers, selecting one company to hold talks with and then holding the other two to the broad terms of that deal.

It reached a pattern deal with GM last month, including new investment that is expected to save thousands of jobs at the company's Oshawa, Ontario plant.

Hammond said that although some progress had been made since the last union update at 4 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT, the two parties faced a "major hurdle" in reaching an agreement that matches the GM deal. Outstanding issues include future investment and wages.

Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on the talks.   Continued...

The frame of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan rolls down the assembly line at the FCA Windsor Assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, May 6, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook