Integram (Magna) Seating, a key supplier to General Motors and Fiat Chrysler assembly plants in Canada, faces a strike deadline today over a new wage and benefit contract with union workers at a Windsor, Ontario, parts factory.
About 1,000 members of Unifor Local 444 are set to strike Integram at 11:59 p.m. ET today.
A work stoppage at Integram would likely halt production at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Windsor assembly plant and General Motors’ CAMI assembly plant in Ingersol, Ont.
Both automakers rely on just-in-time delivery of 1,500 seats and 10,000 “foam buns” that Integram produces in Windsor every day.
FCA makes its popular minivans, the Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge Caravan, at its Windsor factory while GM assembles the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain at the CAMI plant.
The two plants combine to produce about 2,500 vehicles each day.
James Stewart, Local 444’s first vice president, says work at FCA’s minivan plant could grind to a halt “within a couple hours” if seats stopped arriving from Integram.
“It could be relatively quick,” Stewart said. “Potentially, they could get through a shift. But these aren’t small parts. They’re seats and they’re sequenced.”
FCA Canada spokeswoman Lou Ann Gosseline declined to comment beyond confirming the company receives seats from Integram.
Unifor members voted in favor of strike action by 99.2 percent two weeks ago.
While the Local 444 Integram bargaining committee continues to negotiate with Magna management, the Integram Seating strike committee members are assembling picket signs in preparation for a possible strike.
Stewart said the outstanding issues in negotiations “are monetary.”
“We have a long way to go. We’re not even close yet,” Stewart said.
Unionized employees at Integram start at $17.33 an hour and use a 10-year salary grid that tops out at $24.76 per hour.
A strike at Integram seating could be wide-reaching.
John Toth, first vice president at Unifor Local 195, represents employees at about 15 smaller Windsor-based suppliers that service Windsor assembly plant. Toth said a strike at Integram and subsequent work stoppage at FCA’s Windsor assembly plant, would be felt at those additional suppliers.
“When Windsor assembly was down to retool [for the Pacifica upgrades], about 1,500 members were out of work,” Toth said, referencing the 13 weeks the minivan plant was closed earlier in 2016. “If Integram goes down, it impacts all suppliers.”