Strike unlikely at Canada Chrysler supplier: union

Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:02pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Workers at a Johnson Controls plant in Canada that makes parts for Chrysler minivans are unlikely to go on strike this weekend, even if labor negotiations go past the Friday deadline, the union said.

The two sides have been in talks since Monday trying to reach a new collective agreement for the plant's 125 workers, around 30 of whom are on layoff.

"I think we'll have a tentative agreement by the deadline," Rick Laporte, president of Local 444 of the Canadian Auto Workers union, said on Friday.

Laporte said that if a deal was not reached, the union would probably extend the deadline from the end of Friday, when the current contract expires, to Sunday night or Monday morning.

"We are so close right now that if I think we can get it done before Monday, then there's no sense going on strike on a Friday night," he said.

The main issue is job security over the next few years, said Laporte, "but obviously, there is a third party involved -- Chrysler -- so there are some obstacles."

The Johnson Controls plant, which is near the Detroit-Windsor border crossing, builds overhead interior components for the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Voyager. Both are made at Chrysler's Windsor assembly plant, which works on three shifts producing 1,226 vehicles a day.

A Chrysler spokesman said recently that the company is "monitoring the situation and looking at our own plans and contingency plans."

A spokeswoman for Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls, which also makes auto seating and electronic components, batteries, and building heating and ventilation systems, said the company does not comment on labor negotiations.

Workers have voted 97 percent in favor of a strike mandate if no deal with the company is reached.

(Reporting by John McCrank; editing by Rob Wilson)