DETROIT (Updated April 30, 2:30 p.m. ET) — A strike by a parts supplier that shut down Chrysler Group's Windsor Assembly plant early this morning ended after workers voted today and overwhelmingly approved the contract — allowing Chrysler to restart production this afternoon.
A notice on the Web site of Canadian Auto Workers Local 444 said its 190 workers at Dakkota Integrated Systems had approved the new contract by 75 percent in voting today. It said the new contract was a three-year deal, but provided no other terms. Dakkota workers and those at Windsor Assembly on those plants' second shifts were told to report to work as normal.
The half-day strike had shut down production at Windsor Assembly about 2 a.m., and caused Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne to issue a warning to the CAW about the automakers upcoming talks.
“This is not the way to build a car company,” Marchionne said this morning after the shutdown. “If this is the beginning of and a demonstration of the willingness of the part of our friends on the other side of the border to carry out… if that's the basis on which we're going to move forward, I think we're going to have a very difficult round of negotiations.”
Dakkota assembles instrument panels for the Windsor Assembly Plant's Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. A spokeswoman for Chrysler
Chrysler's national pact with the CAW expires in September.
The automaker doesn't have a no-strike pact with the CAW. In the
An extended shutdown of the
The company has chalked up a 39 percent
Dakkota is a joint venture between Rush Group and Intier Automotive Interiors, a subsidiary of Magna International Inc.
In a statement today, Dakkota said it was pleased that workers had ratified the proposed agreement.
“We appreciate the way in which Local 444 leadership worked together with our negotiating team in an environment of trust and mutual respect while protecting the interests of their members,” the statement said.
“Getting this difficult situation resolved was a collaborative effort, recognizing the implications that a long-term strike would have for all of us. We regret the effect that today's events had on our customer and everyone else affected and we look forward to getting back to work.”
A spokesman for CAW Local 444 could not be immediately reached for comment.
A report in the Windsor Star newspaper said the proposed agreement, which was originally rejected by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, included a 50-cent hourly increase every year for the next three years, four extra holidays a year, a $500 signing bonus, increases to benefits, a three-year guaranteed work agreement from Chrysler and improvements to plant working conditions.
The newspaper said the strike also had closed three feeder plants — Oakley Sub-Assembly, TRW Ltd. and HBPO Canada — idling about 300 workers, according to Dino Chiodo, first vice president at CAW Local 444.
Inventories for the Town & Country and Grand Caravan were below the automaker's 60-day ideal level. On April 1, Chrysler had estimated supplies of 53 days for the Town & Country and 39 days for the Grand Caravan, while the
Marchionne was speaking at an event marking the company's decision to open an office in downtown