Friday, November 2, 2007

Chrysler cuts hurt London

Fri, November 2, 2007

Hundreds of job losses are predicted in London's auto sector as a result of the news.

By NORMAN DE BONO, SUN MEDIAThe slashing of jobs and production at Chrysler will hit London's auto sector with "hundreds of jobs" lost here, a union official says.

Chrysler is cutting 12,000 jobs in North America in addition to 13,000 announced in February.

The company will stop making two vehicles in Canada, the Pacifica in Windsor and Magnum at Brampton.

London and area suppliers make parts for those vehicles and other Chrysler products in the United States, Tim Carrie, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 27, said yesterday. The local represents several parts plants in the London area.

"Anyone who supplies Chrysler will be devastated by this, they will be hurt," Carrie said. "This will mean hundreds of jobs will be lost in the parts industry."

At Coopers Standard in Glencoe, 100 jobs may be cut at the plant that employs 300, said Bill Watts, quality manager at the plant.

"It will affect us, 99 per cent of our work goes to Chrysler. It will have a serious impact."

But there is already talk Chrysler will name replacement vehicles for the Pacifica and Magnum in 2008.

The new vehicles will ease job losses, said Bob Cook, manager for the Keiper Automotive plant in London that sends about 60 per cent of the seat structures it makes to Chrysler.

"Everyone here is concerned, but we are not sure what their plans are yet," Cook said.

Keiper could lose more than 20 workers out of its 280 production employees, he said.

Other area parts plants also supplying Chrysler include Brose Automotive, Siemens and Formet in St. Thomas.

Siemens, which makes dashboard fan systems, makes little for Chrysler, "but we still do not need any more bad news in this industry," said Maria McFadden, plant chair.

Siemens workforce will be cut to 117 after Nov. 23, when 37 are laid off from the plant that employed 1,300 in 1995.

"I think London is suffering, this will have a real impact on jobs here. It will hit the community, it will hit suppliers," McFadden said.

Formet makes front-end structures for a Chrysler Jeep plant in the U.S., but it is too early to say if that plant will cut jobs, said Tracy Fuerst, Magna spokesperson.

Siemens has been bought by Continental HE out of Germany in a deal not finalized. When the sale is complete, the London plant will learn if it is to remain open or be shut down, McFadden said.

"This is another sign of the erosion of the auto industry in this country," Carrie said.

"This is bad for our economy, for workers and their families. When will this (federal) government recognize we have a crisis?"

Chrysler is eliminating the third shift at its Brampton plant, cutting 1,100 jobs.

CAW national president Buzz Hargrove believes the Chrysler announcement will result in thousands of Canadian jobs lost in the automotive sector.

Industry Minister Jim Prentice said the federal government will not give aid to the auto industry. "Our industry has to face global competition," he said.

Pacifica production will end Nov. 26, and production of the Dodge Magnum in Brampton will cease early in 2008. Chrysler is also cutting shifts at four U.S. plants

Hargrove insists the problem lies in uncontrolled imports from Asia and government inaction to pry open those markets to Canada.


Chrysler will cut up to 12,000 jobs and eliminate one shift each at five assembly plants in an effort to match production to demand and cut costs.

Plant Employees Affected products

Belvidere (Ill.) 1,000 Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot

Brampton (Ont.) 1,018 Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum

Jefferson North (Detroit) 994 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander

Sterling Heights (Mich.) 1,100 Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger

Toledo North (Ohio) 750 Jeep Liberty, Dodge Nitro

Additional cuts will be made at these and other plants to get to the total cut of 8,500 to 10,000 hourly workers and 2,000 salaried workers.

Canadian Auto Workers President Buzz Hargrove responds to a question during a news conference in Toronto, Thursday Nov. 1, 2007. Hargrove commented on the 12,000 layoffs announced by Chrysler which will affect the plant in Brampton, Ont. (Adrian Wyld, CP)

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